Carson Daly said Chris Kroeze set a high bar in the kickoff to part one of “The Voice” finale Monday night.
But was it high enough for the country singer?
We’ll find out during the NBC singing competition’s season 15 finale Tuesday. But Kroeze certainly brought his A game with his final three performances — and has been blessed with a terrific original song.
Each of the four finalists Monday debuted an original song, including Kroeze’s ballad “Human” — where he wrestles with personal shortcomings and society’s impulsive condemnation — which was written by Ross Copperman and Ashley Gorley.
“I would have wanted this song on my record,” Shelton told Kroeze, saying Copperman and Gorley were “arguably the hottest songwriters in Nashville.” It wasn’t hyperbole. Between them they’ve written or co-written 50 No. 1 country hits since 2005 for A-listers like Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Shelton.
Supported by a choir and blessed by smart, heartfelt lyrics, Kroeze showed with “Human” he has the ability to fit on country radio, even though previous performances suggested traditional country and Southern rock were his wheelhouse.
“Your voice can lend itself to so many different things,” Shelton told him Monday. “But now to hear it on your original song and have that glimpse of who you are as an artist and the kind of record you want to make, with a song with that much depth … That was a hell of a moment.”
While “Human” may have answered one of Kroeze’s biggest shortcomings in the competition — whether he could resonate with modern Nashville audiences — he couldn’t quite shake another: his low-key nature.
But Shelton playfully ribbed on Kroeze’s mild demeanor — “Thank God you’re a good singer,” he said half-jokingly — when the pair introduced their spirited duet of Delbert McClinton’s “Two More Bottles of Wine,” which ended with Shelton giving Kroeze a big kiss on the head.
Kroeze also performed the kind of classic tune that took him to the finals: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” the first song performed Monday.
“I got to say Chris, your journey on the show has been a lot of fun to watch and especially to be a part of,” Shelton told Kroeze after his “Alabama” performance. “You have stayed the course. You know what it is you want to do and you know what connects with the audience. And dude, not just anybody can get up here and do ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and kill it like you just did.”
Between a large and passionate fan base — Kroeze had the most streams on Apple Music of any “Voice” competitors the past two weeks — and undeniable talent that reached new levels Monday, we suspect Kroeze could be declared “The Voice” winner Tuesday.
But it won’t be an easy win, with the three other finalists all delivering terrific performances Monday.
Kirk Jay, another “Voice” finalist on Shelton’s team, did a remarkable rendition of Rascal Flatts’ “I Won’t Let Go,” in addition to original ballad “Defenseless” and George Strait’s “You Look So Good In Love” with Shelton.