Kelsea Johnson: I was incredibly shocked to win 'The Voice' Battle, I wasn't proud of my performance
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/26/2018
Kelsea Johnson survivedThe Voice's Battle Round this season, and now she's moving on to the next stage of competition.
Kelsea, a 22-year-old from Delaware who currently resides in Woodland Hills, CA, was paired with Jordyn Simone, a 17-year-old student from Los Angeles, CA, on behalf of Alicia Keys' team to perform "Don't Let Go" by En Vogue.
Kelsea's unique, scratchy and soulful voice ultimately won her the Battle, and Alicia was also impressed by how she's displayed "tremendous grace" while dealing with struggles within the competition, such as the long hours.
"So I was incredibly shocked because I don't know if you could tell, but in the seconds prior to her naming me the winner, I was so defeated. That performance wasn't something I was proud of and I think it's obvious because I didn't have a voice," Kelsea told reporters during a recent media conference call.
"I'm trying to hit these really big notes. I ended up cracking at one point and I felt so defeated. I was like, 'This is what is going to be my demise. This is where I'm going to go home and I was just waiting to hear Jordyn.'"
She added, "To be completely honest with you, I was already thinking of my thank you speech to Alicia for letting me even be on her team to begin with."
So when Kelsea was named the winner, the artist admitted she felt simply "floored" and utterly grateful.
"I was just like, what?! Because I mean, I think in retrospect, I'm glad about the decision but I really think that Alicia was so understanding in the sense that she saw more than just that performance," Kelsea explained of Alicia's seemingly surprising decision.
"She was thinking bigger picture, I guess, and she liked me enough to keep me on and let me win the Battle, which was amazing."
But both Kelsea and Jordyn will be moving on to the upcoming Knockout Round, as Jordyn was stolen by another coach, Adam Levine. Adam fought hard to win Jordyn away from another interested coach, Kelly Clarkson.
"From here on, I really just want to prove to Alicia that she didn't make a mistake. That's the biggest thing that I want to do in my Knockout," Kelsea noted.
Kelsea said she wants to prove to Alicia there's a lot more talent and skill to her voice that wasn't shown during her Battle.
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"In my Knockout, I'm really just trying to make sure that I prove her right, that I'm not making her regret her decision of letting Jordyn go," Kelsea told reporters.
Kelsea decided to compete on The Voice despite having very little performance experience, and she therefore expected to learn a great deal throughout the Season 14 competition.
"I never sang with people before because this is really my first step in music. So singing with Jordyn and harmonizing was a big struggle for me," Kelsea confessed.
"They didn't show that during the rehearsals, and I'm so grateful for her because she really sat there with me and we practiced those harmonies back, to back, to back and that might be the reason why I lost some of my voice. But we didn't stop until we got it right. Well, I didn't stop until I got it right."
Kelsea knew she'd have to perfect her harmonies with Jordyn in order to survive another day on the show.
"That was such a hard thing for me and I think with just the way that this show is formatted, the fact that we have to do a duet with somebody, harmonies are kind of a given when you're doing a duet. And that just helped me grow," Kelsea said.
"Now, I'm a little bit better with my ear. I mean, my ear is not all the way there, but I'm definitely a little bit better with my ear now."
Kelsea has also grown as an artist thanks to Alicia, who tells her a singer does not have to be the loudest to be the best.
"You can still sing and be quiet, and that was one [piece of] advice that she gave us each, [Alicia] and Shawn Mendes, telling us, 'Give this song room to build. These little things can be applied to so much more.' The advice... wasn't just limited to my Battle. It's unlimited to everything that I do here and going forward," Kelsea gushed to reporters.
"So I think that just being able to have Alicia as my coach and have Shawn Mendes as an advisor has already taught me so much. And being on the stage, that stage is huge. That was really exciting and something different for me."
The Voice's Battle Round continues Monday night, with an all-new episode at 8PM ET/PT on NBC.