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Why Grace West Was Called “Country’s Next Star” After Her “Flawless” Playoff

“Grace’s voice is incredible," Coach Niall Horan said on The Voice. "You know, it has all the nuances of a country singer. And it’s the kind of voice you can’t really teach."

By Caitlin Schunn
Grace West Performs The Judds' "Love Is Alive" | The Voice Playoffs | NBC

Calling her “pure country,” The Voice Coach Blake Shelton is living out a dream in his final season as a Coach, sending Grace West on to the Live Shows after her “flawless way of singing country music” in the Playoff Round.

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“Grace is only 19 years old, and she already has a publishing deal in Nashville,” Shelton said. “And now this exposure here on the show — she’s literally just one step away from being the next star on country radio.”

Shelton also indicated there’s a special bond between him and West.

“Since the first time I heard you sing, I’ve just been excited,” Shelton said. “I have this very unique, young artist that I get to work with on my last season. The fact that you’re the last person I even hit my button for — it’s just been really exciting to me.”

Shelton added of the Michigan native: “She’s got this pure, real, country tone that kind of takes me back to my favorite days in country music, which is the '80s.”

After winning her Knockout Round singing a Dolly Parton classic, West jumped on that classic train again by choosing to sing “Love Is Alive” by The Judds, which was released in 1985.

“Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)” by The Judds is one of the first songs she learned to play on guitar.

“I was 13 when I first got this guitar from my grandpa,” West said in rehearsals. “I started taking it with me to gig places, and I brought it to Nashville … so it has been with me for every major musical event and experience I’ve had. Having the guitar with me is like having my family with me.”

Shelton believes no matter the outcome of the show, West will excel in the ever-changing country music world.

“I totally think Grace fits in with what’s happening with country music right now,” Shelton said. “The movement, especially for females, is leaning more traditional than it has in years.”

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After her performance, Coach Chance The Rapper advised Shelton to send West on to the live shows, and he wasn’t alone.

“Grace West, she’s country’s next star,” Coach Niall Horan said. “I think if Blake sends Grace to the Lives, she could do very well — if not win it all.”

Horan, who also turned his chair for West in the Blind Auditions, added he’s been a fan of the country singer since the beginning, saying: “There’s no doubt that you’ll have a career. You’ve got the most authentic yet familiar voice that you could possibly hear coming out of country music.”

Coach Kelly Clarkson also praised West, saying, “You have a very flawless way of singing country music. It’s just in your bones.”

West said being on Team Blake in the Live Shows would fulfill a dream for her.

“Representing Blake, in his final Lives, as a country artist — the only one on his team — that would be a dream come true,” West said. “I want to make the Live Shows to prove to myself that I can do this, the move to Nashville, not going to college — like I’m eating, sleeping, and breathing music. Like it’ll all be worth it.”

She got her wish. Shelton chose West and NOIVAS to move on and represent Team Blake in the Live Shows. But Shelton also got his wish.

“I had to pick Grace West,” Shelton said. “She is the real deal. She’s pure country. My dream since this is my last season is that I could go on the Lives with a country artist and she is absolutely the perfect country artist to have for this moment.”

Watch new episodes of The Voice Mondays at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.