Ryan Adams has never seemed like a singing-contest kind of guy, but he’s had quite a run on the season of NBC’s “The Voice” that just concluded. The most high-profile instance was Tuesday night’s finale, where Ryan showed up decked out in a Sonic Youth T-shirt and (in a bit of rich irony) performed with his fellow North Carolina native Britton Buchanan. They did “To Be Without You,” one of my favorite songs from Ryan’s Prisoner album.
Buchanan is all of 18 years old and never quite reached the song’s bereft core, but he did fine opposite Ryan. In the wake of this performance, I would not be surprised if someone in Nashville was working up a full-on country version of “To Be Without You.” And while Buchanan showed a lot of prime-time poise, he ultimately fell just short of the brass ring — to an even younger contestant. Buchanan came in second behind 15-year-old Bryn Cartelli.
Will either of them have a career beyond the show? Stay tuned because stranger things have happened.
While Tuesday was Ryan’s first appearance on “The Voice,” it was actually the second time this season that he’s been there in song. Last month, contestant Dylan Hartigan took a crack at singing Ryan’s Heartbreaker-era standard “Come Pick Me Up,” with mixed results. But that was at least a nice paycheck for old Raleigh hand Van Alston.
Watching this from afar has been…well, weird.