Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Chevel Shepherd raced her way to the top.
The 16-year-old Farmington High School student became the sweetheart of NBC’s vocal competition “The Voice.” Even her coach Kelly Clarkson refers to her as “My country Tinkerbell.”
On Tuesday night, she was crowned the winner of the competition as confetti cascaded to the floor.
Shepherd made it to the top four by singing country music in a style being compared to Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, with a contemporary twist. Her win also marked the second win in a row for Clarkson, her coach.
She beat out Chris Kroeze, Kirk Jay and Kennedy Holmes, who rounded out the top four, respectively.
Clarkson told her, “There are people already banging on our doors for you.”
On Monday’s show, Shepherd took the stage three times.
After Monday’s final performance, Shepherd posted on Instagram, “Tonight was super fun! This whole journey has been a blessing and I’m super excited to see what happens.”
Her first song was a rendition of Tanya Tucker’s 1992 hit, “It’s a Little too Late.”
“Chevel Shepherd could take country music by storm,” Clarkson said in the telecast. “She might be 4’10”, but she’s coming for your country music.”
Clarkson said she always had the song in mind for Shepherd and waited until the finale to showcase all dimensions of the teen singer.
Monday’s final performance episode of the season for “The Voice” brought in 9.8 million viewers and ranked No. 1 for the night, matching its best showing since mid-November.
For her second song, Shepherd was joined by Clarkson on stage and the duo sang The Judds’ 1985 single, “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain.”
And for her final song, Shepherd sang an original tune “Broken Hearts.”
The song was written by Shane McAnally, Ashley Arrison and Aben Eubanks.
McAnally is a force in country music, having written for country heavy hitters such as Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan, among others.
“I almost wanted to record it, but I couldn’t make this record at the time,” Clarkson told Shepherd in the recording studio. “I thought this needs to go to someone special and then you came along.”
Clarkson said the song is a beautiful story and is the kind of storytelling she enjoys about country music.
“I like telling a story and relating to the lyrics,” Shepherd said. “Even if I’ve never had my heart broken before.”
Coach Adam Levine praised Shepherd after her performance of “Broken Hearts.”
“A great vocal and great music doesn’t need much, just a straightforward performance,” Levine said. “I adore performances like that. Your voice is instantly identifiable.”
On her official Instagram account, one post from last night had more than 11,000 likes and over 300 comments. The posts showed support but it was @grandmanunu1956’s post that summed it up: “Love your original song! New Mexicans are voting for you Chevel!!!!”
Nearly 24 hours after the airing, Shepherd’s single, “Broken Hearts,” charted at No. 1 on iTunes.
Her other two songs were ranked at No. 10 and No. 18, respectively.
And last week’s single, “Blue,” is charted at No. 23.