‘The Voice’: Blake Shelton Completes His Final Team After Teenage Singer Grace West’s Pam Tillis Cover [Watch]
The final round of Blind Auditions on The Voice aired on Tuesday night (March 21), making the evening a nostalgic one for country coach Blake Shelton, who will say goodbye to the show at the end of Season 23. He completed his team for Season 23 after a strong performance from 19-year-old country standout Grace West.
The singer-songwriter, who grew up in Canton, Mich., won a songwriting competition at the age of 12. That prize led her to Nashville, where she has worked with a publishing company since age 16.
“I moved to Nashville last year. My parents supported it 100%,” West told viewers before her audition. “To be honest with you, I don’t know what I would do without them. They are both in the medical field. I’ve always loved this show. It was a family tradition to sit on the couch after dinner and just watch The Voice. This is like a dream to me. It’s surreal. It’s so exciting.”
"It is so hard to break out in Nashville. Everybody there is doing the same thing,” West added. “It has been hard to be taken seriously because of how much younger I am than everybody else.”
Now, West is hoping to show that she has what it takes to be a performer alongside her already-honed gift of songwriting. And luckily, she gets to continue proving that by rounding out Shelton’s team of hopefuls.
For her blind audition performance, West took the stage with a cover of Pam Tillis’ “Maybe It Was Memphis.” She strummed her guitar along to the melody of the tune, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a red blazer. Coach Kelly Clarkson seemed enthusiastic over the performance, dancing in her chair and mouthing the lyrics to the song. But it was Shelton who turned around for the singer first.
Shelton hit his red button at the top of the chorus, with Niall Horan following suit shortly after. Shelton then listened with excitement, throwing in a little bit of air guitar from where he was seated. Afterward, Horan jumped at his chance to deliver a pitch to try and persuade West into joining his team.
“Your voice is impeccable, with so many sweet tones. You are such a real born storyteller,” he said. “I’ve got nothing like you on my team. Obviously, I’m up against Blake, and he is a country superstar, and that’s probably where you’re leaning. But I was brought up on traditional Irish music, which obviously led me to country music. And that’s the kind of lane that I’ve fallen into. I’ve spent a lot of time in Nashville, writing songs of my own with country writers. I know for a fact people of America are going to love you.”
Shelton then added, “I moved to Nashville when I was 17. I did the same thing as you. I worked for a publishing company there. But I always wanted to just be a country singer. My dream was to be on the radio one day. So I relate to that so much. You have this thing that I feel like artists your age don’t have anymore. I actually hear Pam Tillis in your voice. I have one spot left on my team. I would be honored if you would join the last Team Blake as the last person I will ever hit this freaking worn-out button for.”
Despite the usual comical ribbing between Clarkson and Shelton, the pop superstar vouched for the country crooner, telling West that Shelton would be a great person to help guide her in the right direction.
West then took Clarkson up on her advice to join Team Blake. West is in good hands not just because Shelton is the resident country coach, but he has also won the most seasons of The Voice, with nine total wins under his belt.
“She’s a perfect female country singer,” Shelton told viewers of West after gifting her the T-shirt he gives his team members. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m sitting here talking about Grace right now, and my heart swells up. You know, to think about my journey on this show for 23 seasons and for the last artist for me to hit this button for, I didn’t let it take over. I can’t show any emotion. But I did get a little bit shook up.”
The Voice airs Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC.