Team Kelly’s Kenzie Wheeler is in the running to become the winner of The Voice. The 22-year-old from Dover, Florida has won over viewers for his classic country tone.
“You’re captivating,” Kelly Clarkson told the singer after his Knockout Round performance. “I think you have a natural gift, like on stage, of drawing people in and they want to be friends with you and want to get a beer with you.”
She later referred to him as “one of my favorite country singers and he doesn’t even have an album” while discussing his performance of a classic George Jones’ song.
Clarkson is clearly not alone. The season 20 contestant was the first finalist named during last week’s results episode.
Here’s what you need to know:
Wheeler’s First Passion Was Baseball
During his blind audition, Wheeler revealed to the coaches that his first love was not music. Instead, he was a dedicated baseball player.
“You know, I’ve always loved country music growing up singing with my mom in the car,” he said. “And my first love was baseball, I played all the way through high school.”
The Tampa Bay Times reported the singer played little league in Plant City, Florida as a child and eventually performed for Strawberry Crest High School until his 2016 graduation.
Wheeler Gets His Mullet Permed
Wheeler’s hair has become the topic of many conversations during season 20 of The Voice. As Blake Shelton put it, it’s the “triple threat.”
“First of all, he’s got the party in the back,” Shelton said after Clarkson blocked him during the blind auditions. “He’s got the shaved sides, but then the rare widow’s peak. The rarest of all mullets. This guy is a unicorn.”
Though, there is a little secret to his signature hairdo. If you look at early photos of his mullet, his hair is straight.
“I’ve gotta throw some mousse into it, get it edged up on the sides and my barber, John, fixes it to where I can comb it over,” Wheeler told the Plant City Observer of his hair routine during the show. “And I just got a perm again.”
His MaMaw Lulled Wheeler to Sleep With Country Music
Wheeler’s Top 9 performance of George Jones’ classic song, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” was dedicated to his mamaw. The song was her “all-time favorite,” she exclaimed.
On the show, he revealed she helped cultivate his love of country music while trying to lull him to sleep as a child.
“My grandma did play me these types of songs in the car and stuff when I was little,” he explained in a confessional. “She used to drive me around in the yard ‘cause I wouldn’t go to sleep so that would help me go to sleep sometimes.”
America seemed to agree, with that performance helping catapult him into the finale.
Tonight is part one of The Voice finale, airing on NBC at 8 p.m. The results will be revealed on May 25.