Blake Shelton gets a standing ovation as he sets his team for the last time on The Voice
It's the final night of The Voice season 23 Blind Auditions, which also means it's Blake Shelton's final go at pushing that big red button from his big red chair and asking someone to come on the show as part of his team. The sense of occasion is not lost on Blake — nor is the almost fateful way that his final team member pulled from the Blind Auditions is someone with a story similar to his. It's a very nice moment and a nice way to cap off Blake's 23 Blind Audition rounds — the big guy even gets a little emotional about it!
Grace West is a 19-year-old country music artist from Canton, Michigan, currently working as a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, with dreams of becoming a performer. Blake moved to Nashville at 17 and worked as a songwriter for a publishing company while working toward his own performing dreams. So you can see how it feels a bit like kismet when Grace steps on to the stage and performs "Maybe It Was Memphis" by Pam Tillis when Blake has just one more spot available on his team. She sounds much more polished than her 19 years might indicate — she's country music radio ready, and as soon as she hits the chorus, Blake pushes his button.
NBC Niall Horan, Blake Shelton
Niall Horan — who, thanks to a little father/son gag that happened right before Grace's audition, is dressed identically to the cowboy — also turns. He, too, is down to one last spot on his team. Niall gushes about Grace's storytelling voice and even breaks out into his impression of Blake one more time. But as soon as Blake begins his pitch and Grace says "Hi, Blake," Niall knows it's over. "I lost it already!" he says, not seeming all that torn up, or surprised, about losing a country artist to the King of Country.
nbc Blake Shelton
Blake shares how much he relates to Grace, that he's blown away by her pure country voice, and for the final blow, adds that he wants her to be "the last person that [he] will ever hit this freaking, worn out button for." All the coaches agree, it's a great pitch. Kelly Clarkson takes it a step further, saying that she "can't believe [she's] doing this," but tells Grace that Blake would be the best choice for her. "This is my gift to Blake Shelton on his way out," Kelly adds. Not that Blake needed the help with Grace, but it's still a nice little time between friends. Grace, of course, joins Team Blake, and he immediately gets up to celebrate: "That's it! I'm finished! I'm never doing that again!"
While he may try to crack jokes in the moment, in a later chat with host Carson Daly, Blake gets reflective. He says he's been trying to soak in the whole experience this season, but it's been "going by so fast." When he said out loud that Grace was "the last person that [he'll] ever do that for, it became real," Blake says. He felt himself get "choked up," he admits. Back on stage, he revels in announcing that "for the last time, [his] team is full," and the other coaches and the audience give him a nice, long, 23-seasons-in-the-making standing ovation. One can only imagine what it's going to be like when Blake takes his final bow for the season — will we all be sobbing into our acoustic guitars?!
Watch Blake's final turn below:
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