It was fitting that during Tuesday night’s (March 21) final round of season 23 blind auditions on The Voice Katie Beth Forakis sent chills through the studio with her haunting cover of Justin Bieber‘s “Ghost.” The final single from JB’s 2021 Justice album was center stage as the Tennessee grad student performed a bare bones rendition of the synth pop single that ended up drawing two chair turns.
“Youngblood thinks there’s always tomorrow,” Forakis crooned in a silvery falsetto as first-time judge Niall Horan said, “Ohh, I like that.” As she continued, Horan continued to get lost in the spare piano arrangement and Forakis’ gentle vibe as he ooh’d and aah’d his way through the performance.
But it was Kelly Clarkson who smashed the button 45 seconds in, followed quickly by Horan. Soon-to-depart judge Blake Shelton kept his powder dry and flashed a quizzical look at the camera while fellow first-timer Chance the Rapper closed his eyes and seemed lost in the moment, but not lost enough to turn around.
When Forakis, 25, hit a run of feathery “ooh-ooh-ooh”s Clarkson seemed convinced her turn was warranted, saying, “Wow. It’s like an angel!” Horan was equally shook, shivering and murmuring, “oh my God!” and rubbing his arms to show off his goosebumps as Clarkson delivered a final verdict: “that was pretty.”
Forakis teared up after the final note, as Horan told her, “I honestly didn’t even know I could have hairs on my cheeks,” alluding to his apparent full-body shivers. Niall told her that as soon as Forakis opened her mouth he thought, “all right, great song choice.” And though he expected her to follow Bieber’s lead and “go off and take it to a bigger place,” she kept it at a low boil that appealed to him.
“There’s nothing sweeter than when someone comes in and plays a piano version of what is a massive pop song and completely controls their falsetto for effectively 90 seconds,” he said. Dubbing her rendition “fairy tale stuff,” Niall told Forakis he had one spot left on his first-ever team, then offered her a slot. Chance complimented Forakis’ floor-length orange wrap dress, but noted that his team was full while complimenting her vocals.
Clarkson, who also had a spot to fill, told Forakis she did exactly what the talk show host singer loves to do on her daily Kellyoke segments by taking a song people know and doing it differently, while praising Beth’s “heartfelt” tone.
Watch Forakis on The Voice below and find out whose team she ended up on.