Britton Buchanan’s debut on The Voice last month was the very first thing Season 14 had to offer — his performance came and went before viewers had a chance to get the seats warm. The show took a different approach with Buchanan Monday night, airing his duet with Team Alicia comrade Jaclyn Lovey toward the end of the two-hour Battle Round episode.
It was worth the wait.
Buchanan advanced to the Knockout Round Monday after singing and charming his way through Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” His performance drew high praise from Adam Levine and his coach Alicia Keys, who called Buchanan “a force to be reckoned with.”
Buchanan and Lovey’s 20-minute segment began with the two learning they were competing against each other, leading Lovey (only 16) to admit going against Buchanan, 18, was scary. He responded saying he was nervous, too.
“But a good nervous,” he said. “Jaclyn has a unique voice. I’m terrified and excited.”
The show then detoured to Buchanan walking around Downtown Sanford, talking about his sense of humor and the fact that he never played sports in a “sports-oriented town” like Sanford. “Music,” he said, “gave me a sense of belonging.”
Keys said she picked Buchanan after the blind auditions because “he has wisdom in his voice … When you hear him sing, it’s just piercing.”
During rehearsals with Lovey in front of Keys and singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes, Mendes asked Buchanan to smile more (which led to a light moment of Buchanan showing how awkward his smiling can be).
Before the 475th commercial break of the night, Keys said that between the two, whoever made the Sheeran song their own and whoever appeared most ready for the next step would advance.
Then they took the stage.
Buchanan delivered the first line, “When your legs don’t work like they used to before,” leading to a few “woo’s” from the crowd. The reaction spawned a genuine smile (much better than during rehearsals), and Buchanan’s nerves seemed to disappear. While Lovey’s performance wasn’t bad by any means, Buchanan both outsang and outperformed the California native. When not playing his acoustic guitar, he fist-pumped and hand-gestured his way through the two-minute performance. One extended note gave Keys stank face (the good kind).
When the performance ended, Levine (who tried to pick Buchanan in the premiere but was blocked by Blake Shelton), expressed his anger at his friend for the block. “You’re just a badass, dude,” he said to Buchanan. “And I’m so sad that I didn’t get to work with you.”
Before choosing Buchanan, she told him, “You’re only 18, and you have such a lived-in voice. So powerful. And you can become even better.”
After the choice, Lovey was stolen by Shelton, meaning both advance to the Knockout Round, where they’ll perform songs of their choice (solo), while still pitted against contestants from other teams.
The Voice airs Wednesday night with a special “Best Of” the first five weeks (if you want to relive any of it). The Knockout Rounds air Monday and Tuesday, April 2 and 3, next week.