Josh Kaufman Aims for ‘The Voice’ Top 8

The Indy-based singer squared off against nine rivals Monday night, and as we awake from our live-blogging haze, we find him in a good spot to move on.

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Editor’s Note, April 22, 2014: Midway through The Voice’s elimination episode last night, Josh Kaufman was saved by America’s votes advancing to next week’s Top 8 live shows. The next round starts live at 8 p.m. on May 5.

The Top 10 belters and warblers performed last night on NBC’s The Voice, which still has Indianapolis crooner Josh Kaufman fighting to stay alive. However, if you followed our live-blogging during the show last night, you know we foreshadowed Christina Grimmie reaching the iTunes Top 10 with her unique cover of Drake’s song “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” Not only did she break the Top 10, but she’s currently sitting in the Top 5, just as Kaufman did last week with his rendition of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.”

Grimmie is one of Kaufman’s main human barriers to win it all with her pre-built fan base already intact. But the country looks to also be rallying around Kaufman. His cover of Kenny Loggins’s “This Is It” reached the Top 40 on iTunes this morning, and he’s gained nearly 10,000 Twitter followers in the past two weeks.

I asked Kaufman who he felt his human barriers were before his performance last night. “This is the final 10 out of so many thousands who wanted to be here, so the talent level is really high, he says. “I don’t spend much time thinking about what everybody else is doing anyway. All I have control over is what I do, and I just have to try to make that the best it can be.”

Since the live shows have started, Kaufman does seem to be laser focused on delivering the best vocal possible. His cover tune last night couldn’t keep up with the energy of Delvin Choice’s take on Gary Clark Jr.’s “Bright Lights” or Grimmie’s shocking take on a hip-hop (more like hip-pop) song, but Kaufman still sounded better than most of the contestants. His voice is like a guitar solo; it can change quickly and create unique sounds that are pleasing to hear. His crowd interaction improved last night as well, for which he praises coach Usher.

“He told me to practice in the mirror—once facing it, once in profile one way, and once in profile the other way, occasionally making eye contact with myself,” Kaufman tell IM. “It was an odd exercise, but really helped me focus on connecting with the audience.”

As Kaufman stands before millions of viewers tonight with hopes of making the Top 8, he will still look his calm and collected self, which is a mindset he channels before going live and battling it out on stage.

“I just try to calm down and put things in perspective,” he says. “Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein spoke of being in the military in the midst of battle and being overcome by the sense that he was ‘absolutely safe’—that no matter what happens, everything that is precious about the world remains intact.”

Such the humble Hoosier way, and such introspection from a one-time Anderson University philosophy major.

You can help keep Josh Kaufman “alive” (as it were) by voting hard this hour. Call 1-855-864-2304 by noon or vote online here.

I see Jake Worthington and Tess Boyer packing their bags. Who do you see going home?

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