By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
LOS ANGELES– After hitting the top position on both the “Country” and “All Genres” Apple music charts, Cookeville musician Jake Hoot advanced to “The Voice” final four Tuesday night following Monday’s moving performance of the Eagles’ hit “Desperado.”
Hoot will now compete against Katie Kadan, Ricky Duran and Rose Short for the title of “The Voice” winner, with a grand prize of $100,000 and a Universal Music Group record deal.
The four will each perform four songs next Monday in the finale. First, Hoot will sing another cover song, second is an original song that he wrote, third will be a duet with his coach, Kelly Clarkson, and lastly, Hoot will have a duet with a “mysterious A-list artist” that hasn’t been announced yet.
The talent this season has been phenomenal. Coaches John Legend, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Clarkson each enter the finals with only one artist. This marks the first time in seven seasons that all of the coaches will be represented in the finale, host Carson Daly noted.
Hoot performed “Desperado” for his mother, whose favorite band is the Eagles.
“I’m one of nine, six boys and three girls,” he explained to Clarkson. “If she wasn’t holding one of us, there were three of us holding on to her skirt. Mama is an incredibly special person to me, and I’m super excited to sing one of her favorite songs.”
After listening to Hoot during their coaching session, Clarkson said, “This song sounds like you are going to see Jake Hoot on tour, and this is one of his big hits. I don’t know if he’s really done that kind of performance yet on this show.”
Clarkson added, “I am the luckiest coach in the world.”
Hoot said, “I’m incredibly grateful to Kelly. She’s believed in me every step of the way, pushing the button, battles or knock-outs. It’s an incredible feeling to know that somebody that level has that much faith in you.”
After Hoot performed live Monday evening, all four coaches were on their feet applauding, with Clarkson shouting out that he was “so good,” and host Carson Daly said that he “did Mama Hoot proud.”
Legend agreed, “Every week, you’re just so consistently excellent every week. Your voice just feels like home. It’s so comfortable and relaxing, and then you hit these high notes like it’s nothing to you. It’s effortless, you just throw them up there, and it’s just pitch-perfect. You’re an excellent singer, and it was a joy to listen to that performance.”
Clarkson had no problem praising her well-loved team member, noting, “Literally, there’s a microphone in your throat projecting. It’s an incredible voice you have. The thing I love about you and growing up on country music—it’s the story that really matters to you. This song mattered to you. There’s a story. There’s a message. You delivered it so eloquently; it was classy.
“It was so perfect, you are so perfect, I am so lucky that you are on my team,” Clarkson gushed.
Hoot again wowed the audience with a soulful duet with Marybeth Byrd of the 1980’s hit song, “Up Where We Belong.”
When results were released on Tuesday, Hoot had for the third consecutive week led the group in streaming numbers. In addition to having the number one position on both the “Country” and “All Genres” charts, Hoot had four songs in the top 28 on the “Country” chart and four songs in the top 127 on the “All Genres” chart, a feat any major artist would be proud to claim.
In a video message to the 31,434 fans in his Team Hoot fan page on FaceBook, Hoot thanked his fans for everything they had done for him. He said that he had been crying since he walked backstage after making it to the Top 4.
“I’m so very grateful for everything,” Hoot added.
There’s no rest for Hoot anytime soon. Tuesday night after the show, he had meetings with Clarkson and Daly to plan for next week’s show.
“The Voice” final performances will air live on NBC Monday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. The winner will be announced during the live finale on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. following a review of each singer’s journey to the finals that begins at 7 p.m.