Brynn Cartelli not only turned judges’ chairs during her stellar blind audition on season 14 of The Voice, but made jaws drop upon revealing she was only 14 years old at the time. In the words of coach Adam Levine, the Massachusetts native sounded “like a 36-year-old who’s been through it.”
Cartelli was also the first contestant for whom new coach Kelly Clarkson slammed that glorious, giant red button, thus spinning her chair in approval. “I can win with you,” Clarkson assured her protege in a successful attempt to win her over against rival judge Blake Shelton. Thank goodness Cartelli went with the guidance of her earliest musical inspiration — on Tuesday (May 23), the Team Kelly member became the youngest-ever champion of The Voice at an unbelievable age of 15.
In celebration of Cartelli’s vocally precocious triumph, Billboard has rounded up six of her most incredible performances of the season. Watch them below.
When she growled her way through “You and I”
Some believe that Cartelli started relatively weaker than some other efforts with this Lady Gaga number, but she undoubtedly gained a wave of confidence instantaneously as she howled the chorus’ titular lyric about halfway through. She then delivered the explosive foot-stomping melody, unleashing the impressive vocals that earned her the spot in the Top 11. Oh, and parents, don’t worry: the lyrics were edited to be PG.
When Clarkson wasn’t ready for the battle against Dylan Hartigan
During the blind auditions, Clarkson commended Cartelli for her sonic flexibility, suggesting that the young powerhouse dabble in different genres to avoid getting pigeonholed. Cartelli took the advice with this country-fied version of Taylor Swift‘s Reputation hit “…Ready For It?” in a fiery battle against teammate Dylan Hartigan. While the male competitor gave it an impressive shot, Cartelli was the clear champ as she delivered perhaps her most confident performance of the season. Coach Clarkson could hardly stay seated as she watched in awe.
When she predicted her own Voice fate with “Unstoppable”
No, The Voice isn’t a piano competition, but Cartelli demonstrating her instrumental abilities during the intro of this anthem was the cherry on top of this future-telling performance of “Unstoppable.” Cartelli put Levine’s initial description of her voice to the test, bearing a notably similar timbre to the original artist, 42-year-old Sia. She further proved she’s a natural on stage by riling up the crowd. Unstoppable, indeed.
When she gave Adele a run for her money
Don’t hurt us for comparing the newbie to modern legend Adele, but have you heard the kid? This Bond soundtrack ballad might as well have been written for Cartelli, who exemplified both ends of her stunning range without flaw during the season finals, and made it look almost easy. If it weren’t for the audience’s well-deserved applause throughout, the audio of this performance could probably pass as a studio recording.
When no eyes were dry as she tried to “Fix You”
Initially, it feels almost sinful to listen to this Coldplay standard led by a voice other than Chris Martin’s, but the Cartelli effect makes this 2005 hit pack a heartbreaking punch. The competitor proves her Top 10 spot was rightfully earned from the haunting, orchestral introduction to the rocking finale, covering all her bases genre-wise by tributing one of Britpop’s most iconic names. We’re not crying, you’re crying.
When she insisted “What the World Needs Now Is Love”
No glittery ensemble, no flashy backdrop, no on-stage assistance except from an understated orchestra — just Cartelli absolutely crushing her semi-finals performance with a half-decade-old song. She made the Jackie DeShannon classic sound incredibly contemporary, soaring over its evergreen message as she stood regally on a platform. In light of recent events, we commend Cartelli for keeping the mantra alive via one of her many tear-jerking performances that led her to an honorable victory.