Dressed in a ruffled royal blue satin pant suit and set on a platform stage backed by a small ensemble of strings, Grace West gave a winning performance of Tammy Wynette‘s 1976 hit “Til I Make It On My Own,” during the live Semi-Finals of The Voice on Monday (May 15)
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West’s performance marked the first time the Wynette song, the title track of the late country legend’s 15th album, has been performed on The Voice, and earned the teen contestant a spot in the Top 5.
“It means a lot to be performing a Tammy Wynette song on Blake’s [Shelton] last team ever as his last country artist ever,” said West during her pre-recorded rehearsal interview. “It’s such a monumental moment, so I really want to make Blake proud.”
The 19-year-old Canton, Michigan native kept all four judges fully engaged as she delicately moved through the Wynette ballad, perfectly hitting every peak within the song.
“Honestly, you’re one of my favorite voices on this show, without a doubt,” said Niall Horan following West’s performance. “Your tone is so unique, but also, I feel like I’ve heard it in lots of different places. It’s amazing. It’s incredible, and I’ve always been a fan of yours. I’ve always thought, ‘This girl needs to go to the finale.’”
Shelton added, “You got me my first gift, which was, you sang it like you did in rehearsals. It’s unbelievable. There’s a reason that no one has ever done that song on this show. It’s because you can’t do it, but you just did. I’ve got to tell you, I will be stunned if you don’t make it into the finale. Not because of any other reason than you are absolutely the real deal. To have a 19-year-old up here singing classic country music, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
West, who recently relocated to Nashville, was the first contestant revealed in the Top 5. She will compete one last time during The Voice finale against fellow Team Blake singer NOIVAS, along with Kelly Clarkson‘s team member D Smooth, Team Chance the Rapper’s sibling trio Sorelle, and Gina Miles on Team Niall.
Now based in Nashville, West recently signed a publishing deal. “I’m making pop-country with an old-school vibe,” said West of her style of music on her official website. “I love bringing the elements of classic country—the foundation of the genre—into a more modern sound.”
Mid-way through the two-hour episode, Reba McEntire appeared sitting in Shelton’s chair, revealing that she will be taking the longtime coach’s place when he retires from the show following this Season 23. McEntire will be joined by coaches John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Niall Horan for Season 24.
The final Top 5 performances will air on Monday (May 22) with The Voice Season 23 airing on Tuesday (May 23) on NBC and streaming on Peacock the following day.
Photo by Trae Patton / NBC