‘The Voice’: Soul Singer Kim Cruse Slays a Willie Nelson Classic

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Kim Cruse has not previously delved into the country genre during her run on Season 22 of The Voice. But that all changed on Monday night (Nov. 21), when she competed for a chance to enter the coveted Top 10.

The Texas-born powerhouse, who belongs to Team Legend, delivered an impressive take on the ‘70s classic, “Always on My Mind.”

The ballad, originally recorded by Brenda Lee, has been popularized by a number of other artists, including Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, the Pet Shop Boys and more. But, when Cruse stood on stage to treat listeners with her performance, she made the tune all her own. She used her genuine emotions and facial expressions to connect with the studio audience. She also shined with her soulful vocals as she incorporated hand gestures and took intentional breaths at specific moments to deliver the storytelling lyrics throughout the touching ballad.

Before showing off her incredible range on “Always on My Mind,” Cruse was tasked with selecting a song that changed her life. She discussed her reasons for stepping outside the box with an unpredictable song choice.

“This week, I’m branching out and singing a country song,” she shared. “I don’t think people will expect this, but being from a small town in Texas, I had always loved country music.

“It wasn’t until my grammy passed in 2017 that this song developed a new meaning for me,” she added. “It just made me realize at that moment how important it is to let people that mean the most to you know how much they mean to you. When they’re gone, there’s nothing else you can do but wish. This is the moment I think she always saw for me.”

After her performance, her coach. John Legend, said, “I just lost my grandmother, probably around the same time you lost yours. I was so emotional just listening to you and thinking about her and thinking about all of the loved ones we lost. We need to make sure we tell them that we love them when we have them. That was so beautiful and so soulful. You made it your own and honored the original so beautifully.”

“I’m pretty sure they were hearing that up in the heavens,” Blake Shelton added. “They hear it every time you sing. Your voice, you know Elvis did that too. So, I hear some Elvis in there when you sing that too, along with Willie. But the truth is, when you sing it, it just becomes Kim. That was beautiful. It was incredible. Unbelievable. Great job!”

Last week Cruse appeared in the bottom two on her team, but was saved by Legend, who had the hard choice of saving her or Sasha Hurtado. During the show, he said he opted to save Cruse because “I am confident she has what it takes [to go all the way].”

Fans can tune into an all-new episode of The Voice on Tuesday night (Nov. 22) to find out if Cruse will continue her journey in the competition.

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