Kelsea Johnson, who graduated from Stony Brook University in May, is making the most of her gap year.
On Tuesday, she landed her first Top 10 single on iTunes’ R&B charts. Next week, she starts in “The Voice” playoff round on Alicia Keys’ team.
“I’m trying to make this my Plan A,” Johnson said on “The Voice,” following a picture of her graduating from Stony Brook with degrees in psychology and sociology. “Getting confirmation from Alicia Keys is such a big deal to me.”
The 22-year-old from Delaware fought back tears as she told Keys that she wanted to sing Andra Day’s “Rise Up” to honor her grandfather, who died of cancer in August.
Johnson’s powerful performance brought Kelly Clarkson to her feet and brought praise from Keys, who chose her to advance to the playoffs because there is “something really mysterious and special about Kelsea.”
Starting with next week’s shows, “The Voice” viewers will vote on which singers advance and Stony Brook University is already making plans for events to support Johnson.
Though Johnson has done well in her three performances on the show, she has told Keys that she is still nervous and having trouble sleeping because of her excitement about the show. Keys told Johnson that she hasn’t reached her full potential yet.
“You have been in your head a lot,” Keys told her after she sang “Rise Up.” “I see so much in you — being able to just break through anything that’s making you feel like you can’t go all the way.”