“I’ll either be smiling all the way through or crying.” — Britton Buchanan

Well, it was the latter. But man … Britton Buchanan saved his best for tonight, singing “The Rising” by his hero, The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, backed by Roman columns and a choir. It was an emotional ending to the Top 8 semifinals of The Voice — the field will be cut in half tomorrow night, and only four of these performers will move on to the finals next week.

We had the online courage to state last week that young Britton, currently the pride of Sanford, North Carolina, was a shoe-in for the Final 4. His performance tonight only solidified that statement. It was powerful, emotional and, most importantly, pretty damned good. His best to date.

Fun Fact: “The Rising” was Springsteen’s 2002 tribute to the New York City firefighters who climbed the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. 

The clips before Britton’s performance showed him getting the news that he’d be singing Bruce this week and then sharing the news with his best friends from Sanford (who were in the audience tonight).

His coach, Alicia Keys, told Britton to “take us and pull us in” on every verse. To the camera, she called Britton “the real deal” and compared the emotion he shows on stage to his idol.

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After the performance, which capped the two-hour show, Keys was beside herself.

“I just continue to feel how blessed I am to be working with you,” she said. “I’m blessed to be a part of your journey. You showed another side tonight You’re refining more and more and more and more. If this “rising” is a place we can all go, then I’m coming with you, man. There’s nothing you can’t do. The deep emotions you convey, you’re so far beyond your years. The stage set before you is outrageous. What you’re accomplishing and what you’re going to accomplish is outrageous.”

Here’s what social media had to say about Britton and “The Rising” … keep reading for more on tonight’s show (including his earlier duet with Brynn).

Duet with Brynn

About halfway through the show, Britton teamed up with Brynn Cartelli for a mashup of “FourFive Seconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney (yes, I just typed that) and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by, of course, The Rolling Stones.

I was going to have more to say about this, because it was quite good … but Britton’s Bruce finale kinda made this one take second stage, so to speak.

I will say this … good choice by both to duet with each other. If it’s about the votes and the downloads heading to the finale, Britton and Brynn have been amon the top vote-getters this entire season. Neither hurt each other’s chances, and both are considered favorites to make it to next week.

Amazingly, they’re a combined 33 years old.

Rise above it

Before the show today, Britton tweeted a few posts suggesting a loss to him and his family. While the tweets weren’t specific, Britton and his family did lose somebody close to them this week.

No politics. Just love.

No, “The Rising” wasn’t a political statement tonight. It was an 18-year-old kid singing a meaningful song by his hero. It’s a shame others wanted to suggest otherwise.