Farmington teen advances to live shows on 'The Voice'
FARMINGTON – Hometown fans of 16-year-old singer Chevel Shepherd didn’t have long to wait before seeing her win her Knockout Round against Team Kelly competitor Sarah Grace tonight on NBC’s “The Voice”
The Farmington High School student is going to the live shows portion of the competition after making it through the blind audition, the Battle Round and tonight the Knockout Round.
She’ll compete live on Nov. 12, when fans will have a chance to vote for her via the NBC app, according to her @officialchevel Twitter feed.
Shepherd sang the Dixie Chicks country hit “Travelin’ Soldier” in honor of her brother, a veteran. The song was originally written and recorded by country artist Bruce Robison in 1996.
“I chose this song because it was very close to the heart,” she said before her performance.
She said her brother was in the U.S. Army. “He served for six years. My Mom was always worried about him, and so we would always sing this song together. I’m just really thankful that he’s home.”
Judges praised both contestants, as Shepherd drew a comparison to Loretta Lynn from her coach, Kelly Clarkson, and notice from judge Blake Shelton of the “vibrato that you have, like a young Dolly (Parton).”
Grace, 15, countered with a bluesy number that drew praise from the judges as well for her talent and the richness of her voice, but in the end it came down to Clarkson’s vote. She chose Shepherd while later “saving” Grace to return to her team.
“You both did pick bold, fearless songs,” Clarkson said. “…I only want bold and fearless humans on my team. So, this is very difficult for me…. I think my heart has to go with whoever I think is ready to go in right now…. The winner of this Knockout is Chevel.”
Clarkson later said of Shepherd, “Chevel, ain’t nobody like her in country music like her, she’s a force. A 16-year-old girl nailing Dixie Chicks? It’s over.”
“You don’t need to know country to know you’re country,” said judge Adam Levine. “Like, it’s so great to feel how pure that is. Like, it’s so angelic. Really special to listen to.”
Shepherd said during an interview portion of a video on NBC.com that she’s grateful for this experience.
“Before the “blinds,” gosh I’m trying to think back that far, I was just a regular teenage girl at home in New Mexico, working on cars with my Dad,” she said. “Now I’m working with Mariah Carey and Kelly Clarkson, oh my gosh I can’t believe I’m saying that. I’m so glad I get to be here.”
Carey and Clarkson worked with Shepherd and Grace during rehearsals. Carey said Shepherd has “raw talent.”