(To close out the year, we’re counting off five of our most-read stories from 2018. Here’s number two. Read number three here, four here and five here. Check back tomorrow for number one.)

We wrote 26 articles on Britton Buchanan in 2018.

Read them all here. All 26 of them. 

Sanford’s own hit reality television like a Hawaiian shirt-clad hurricane in February when he performed “Trouble” on Episode 1 of Season 14 of NBC’s highly popular “The Voice.” Buchanan made headlines by becoming the show’s first-ever “block” … country star Blake Shelton blocked Maroon 5’s Adam Levine from selecting him, leading Buchanan to choose Alicia Keys.

The rest was history.

Buchanan’s star level rose each week. And it was rarely mystery whether he’d advance — he was consistently the top vote-getter on social media and the show’s mobile app. And back home, the watch parties got bigger by the week. The young man who cut his teeth playing in local bars, coffee shops and downtown festivals became a star in less than three months.

The pinnacle of his “Voice” run was Buchanan’s performance in the semi-finals — an emotional cover of “The Rising” by his idol, Bruce Springsteen. The performance drew praise from Steven Van Zandt from the E-Street Band, and Buchanan eventually got a few minutes with The Boss backstage after attending his show on Broadway.

Buchanan didn’t “win” Season 14. He finished second overall; the winner was another teen, Brynn Cartelli. But there was no shame in being a runner-up.

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Shortly after the season ended, Buchanan recorded his first album in Los Angeles. He returned to Sanford in June to perform four consecutive sold-old shows at Temple Theatre alongside a few other Voice contestants. He spent the remainder of the summer headlining concerts in and around North Carolina and playing gigs with other local bands in and around Sanford.

He has one more gig in Sanford on Jan. 4, and it’ll be a big one (details in the tweet below).

After that, it’s back to L.A. for whatever career Buchanan has in front of him. No matter what 2019 brings, it’s safe to say 2018 was a simply amazing year for both Buchanan and his hometown.

To say his rise was a big story for Sanford this year is an understatement. Here’s hoping we include him in more lists in the coming years.