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Why D. Smooth’s "Insane" Playoff Got Chance the Rapper Worried for His Team

“This really is the first time I ever felt, like, smoke from any other team. Really, I’ve not been worried at all until right now,” Chance the Rapper said after hearing D. Smooth's epic Playoff performance.

By Jill Sederstrom
Team Kelly's D.Smooth Sounds Like Silk on Khalid's "Location" | The Voice Playoffs | NBC

Chance the Rapper was feeling pretty confident about his team as The Voice entered the Playoffs, but D. Smooth’s “insane” performance Monday night had the first-time Coach feeling more than a little unnerved. 

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of The Voice on Monday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

“This really is the first time I ever felt, like, smoke from any other team. Really, I’ve not been worried at all until right now,” Chance said after D. Smooth’s incredibly cool performance of “Location” had the whole crowd swooning.

Chance has made it clear his team is “fire,” but D. Smooth’s ability to take Khalid’s 2016 R&B hit and change the rhythm to make it his own — at one point even sitting on the steps of the stage to drive home his relatability — had the rapper and music producer fearing Team Kelly.

“When we had that little moment towards the end, I could picture you in front of hundreds of thousands of fans screaming while you do your little improv runs,” Chance said.  “I see the vision.”

Since the Blind Auditions, Coach Kelly Clarkson has been drawn to D. Smooth’s silky voice, which is almost reminiscent of another era. 

“I love D. Smooth’s voice because it reminds me of the '90s,” she explained. "It just reminds me of those singers that can just really tell you a story and break your heart, do all the things. His voice is incredible.”

Clarkson was so confident she was “going to stick with” the 25-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama that she gave D. Smooth the coveted Playoff Pass, allowing him to skip the Knockouts and go straight into the Playoffs. 

For his first time back on stage since earning the pass, D. Smooth was drawn to “Location” because he wanted to “bring that nostalgic effect back to The Voice.” 

“‘Location’ is a bit linear for competition, but the cool thing about D. Smooth is that he changed it up, he made it his own, so he’s quite the competitor,” Clarkson remarked after rehearsals.

His ability to craft his own version of the song also highlighted a set of skills that D. Smooth had yet to display during the singing competition, giving Clarkson just one more reason why D. Smooth might have an edge.

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“I got to see more of the producer side of him this time with how he arranged ‘Location,’ so he’s an incredible artist as well as singer,” she said.

She wasn’t the only Coach to feel that way. After his performance Monday night, in addition to rave reviews from Chance, D. Smooth also received high praise from Coaches Niall Horan and Blake Shelton.

“I don’t know that anybody’s ever lived up to their name quite like you, man,” Shelton said. 

The veteran Coach even planned to steal D. Smooth’s impressive mic moves for himself. 

D. Smooth on The Voice 2301

“Whatever trickery that was with the microphone, like, I’m gonna be doing that now,” Shelton said. “I’ll give you credit. I’ll give you credit for it.” 

Horan complimented D. Smooth for “always giving the people what they want,” adding that he was pretty sure D. Smooth “would never do” the exact same version of the song twice.

While his performance earned accolades — and invoked fear — in the other Coaches, Clarkson was ultimately responsible for determining D. Smooth’s fate in the competition and luckily, was impressed by what she saw. 

“I’m gonna lead with that’s my favorite thing you’ve ever done on the show,” she said before addressing Horan's comment about D. Smooth’s ability to perform it differently every time. “It’s almost like your song, that you released this song, and it’s your own, and that’s a very rare thing. Congratulations, man, it was awesome.” 

When the time came for Clarkson to announce which two members of her team would advance onto the live semi-finals, she was quick to choose D. Smooth. 

“I honestly went with D. Smooth because from the get-go he’s tugged at special strings in my heart and I love him, like since the Blinds,” she said of her decision. “He has such a cool gift, y’all, like he just stands out to me. We just haven’t had a singer like him in a long time, so I’m very excited.” 

Clarkson also advanced rock-solid country singer Holly Brand.