Indy's Josh Kaufman Shines in First Live Performance on 'The Voice'

Editor’s Note, April 22, 2014: Josh Kaufman was among the first few competitors to move on to next week’s Top 10 live show during The Voice‘s elimination episode tonight. The next round starts live at 8 p.m. on April 28.

Most of Monday’s two-hour episode of The Voice on NBC was staged with the singers building to blaring high notes. This went like clockwork until the final performance, which also happened to be the most solid delivery of the night. The Voice saved the best for last when Indianapolis’s Josh Kaufman covered Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” with his soft, smooth falsetto complementing a high-ranging chest voice. It was refreshing to see Kaufman display a wide range of control instead of focusing solely on a climactic, ascendant finish. Out of the four human barriers who could potentially prevent the ultimate Kaufman victory, it was Indy’s own that delivered the best overall vocal of the night.

During preparation for Kaufman’s first live performance on the show, Usher mentioned the Indy troubadour’s Achilles heel laid in his nerves and resulting stage performances. Thus with hopes of kick-starting a sense of on-stage freedom, Usher had him stop practice and run around the entire stage. This tactic is a way to remember to connect with the entire audience, which Kaufman accomplished in his follow-up showing. As Usher said of that performance, “You completely commanded this entire room.” That being said, it’s belted high notes that get America’s votes. Indy’s contestant delivers his own with a side of Hoosier humility.

Now it’s truly up to Indianans themselves to keep this soulful singer “alive,” as it were. Voting ends today at noon and the Top 10 will be announced live tonight after 8 p.m. on NBC. Kaufman’s voting line is 1-877-5-KEEP-12, and his iTunes sales of last night’s performance can also affect the outcome.

I see country hopeful Jake Worthington (Team Blake) and R&B singer T.J. Wilkins (Team Usher) going home. Who do you think will be sent packing?