After earning an instant save last week with Billy Currington’s “Let Me Down Easy,” Bryce Leatherwood returned to The Voice stage during Season 22’s Top 13 Live Playoff round on Monday evening (Nov. 21).
For the Top 13 Playoff round each of the contestants were asked to choose a song that has changed their lives and 22-year-old chose a song by “The King Of Country Music,” George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning.”
“George Strait is an incredible artist. He’s the reigning King, man,” Leatherwood explained to his coach Blake Shelton during rehearsals. “This song is going to make me bring it. If you come out with the King, you best not miss. I cut my teeth with this song in little, tiny bars in my hometown. I remember people enjoying my singing. That spoke volumes. This song has been in my set list from day one, and it continues to be whether it’s just me performing it by myself or with my band.”
Shelton then told viewers that Strait is a staple in Country music and predicted that Leatherwood’s performance of the Strait hit will be his best performance to date on the show.
“George Strait is sacred for any country artist. He knows how important this song is to country music fans, and I truly believe this is going to be Bryce’s best performance so far,” Shelton shared.
Ahead of Leatherwood’s performance, Shelton revealed that his mother, Dorothy, is a big fan of the contestant. Admitting that his mom was not happy when Shelton allowed Leatherwood to fall to the Instant Save last week.
“My mom may not speak to me for a few weeks,” Shelton said laughing.
Following his performance of the classic country hit, Shelton and his fellow coaches on The Voice John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Camila Cabello praised the rising star’s vocal abilities and raved over his Strait cover.
“This might be the first time I’ve ever felt like a stage mom,” Shelton said of Leatherwood’s cover of the classic country hit. “I was singing every word and was thinking, ‘Here comes the modulation. Smile! Smile!’ I mean I was so into that. I love George Strait, and I love Bryce. Let me tell you something. The position you were in last week, I mean, who knows how it happens, but that’s how you fix it, man. That was a great song and performance!”
“Bryce. I’m no country expert as Blake will remind you often, but I gotta say, it sounded so perfect and so natural.” Legend said of Leatherwood, who has been a front-runner of Season 22 of The Voice. “A man named Bryce Leatherwood singing a George Strait song. You sounded like you were perfectly in your comfort zone. You sounded so confident. You look like a star up there. Your voice sounded pure and beautiful. It was a perfect execution of that song. Very well done.”
Bryce Leatherwood has continuously impressed The Voice coaches (Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Camila Cabello) since his blind audition, where he performed Conway Twitty’s “Goodbye Time” and blew away Blake Shelton with his vocal abilities.
“Well, well, well. Welcome to Team Blake,” Shelton said at the time. “I wanted to get my push in before you got to the chorus, because I could tell you already hit the two tough notes. I was blown away. And, what a great country name — Leatherwood.”
“You have an incredible voice,” Camila Cabello said after the Georgia native’s audition. “You are incredibly talented.”
“You sounded fantastic,” John Legend gushed. ”I heard the richness in your voice. No matter what genre you sing, it’s about the charisma you have as an artist. I didn’t want you to waste your experience on this show being on Team Blake. I would be a great coach for you.”
Shelton previously compared Leatherwood’s vocals to that of Strait during the Battle Rounds, where he performed a cover of Brooks & Dunn’s “Red Dirt Road,” and advanced to the next round of the popular singing competition show.
“Bryce, you’re 22, and I don’t know how much experience you have onstage,” Shelton gushed. ”Seems like you’ve got about 40 years…. You’re one of those guys that’s like George Strait. You deliver and it’s solid.”
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.