There was silence, and then there was Wendy Moten’s voice as she closed the show with a stirring performance of “I Will Always Love You,” followed by a standing ovation from all four judges.
“I’m gonna say this, and I’m probably gonna catch a lot of heat for it, but I don’t care,” said Blake Shelton during the first live rounds of The Voice on Nov. 8. “I’ve been doing this show for 21 seasons, as a coach, and there is nobody that I want this more for, ever than you. You deserve this.”
Closing off the first live rounds at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California, the 56-year-old Tennessee native showcased her powerhouse vocals with the song, originally written by Dolly Parton in 1973 and later revived by Whitney Houston nearly 20 years later for The Bodyguard in 1992.
“You are so gifted,” said coach Kelly Clarkson. “That is such a big song, and don’t think I missed that little run that you did. You are so incredible, it’s insane if you don’t make the finale.”
Part of Team Blake, Shelton said he “can’t even imagine the offers” Moten will receive once her time on The Voice is complete. Moten has worked with Mega Mentor Ed Sheeran, Dierks Bentley—one of the Season 21 “Battle Advisors,” which also included Jason Aldean (Team Kelly), Kristin Chenoweth (Team Ariana), and Camila Cabello (Team Legend).
Throughout her career, Moten has worked with artists like Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, John Oates, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Tyler, Alice Cooper, Buddy Guy, Michael Bolton, Michael McDonald, and Al Jarreau, and scored a solo hit in 1992 with her song, “Come In Out Of The Rain.”
Moten previously performed Sting’s “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You,” Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way,” and The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” on The Voice.
Photo: Trae Patton/NBC