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Kenzie Wheeler Puts the Honky-Tonk in Chayce Beckham’s Country Rock

Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate

Trae Patton/ Eric McCandless

American Idol and The Voice both had their season finales just days apart this year. Both shows boasted some incredible singers, but we seriously have to zero-in on the country genre. It’s no secret that country singers usually dominate talent shows. American Idol Season 19 winner Chayce Beckham was deemed a country artist midway through the competition. Over on Season 18 of The Voice, Kenzie Wheeler dominated the country category with his authentic sound.


Chayce Beckham, Kenzie Wheeler Represent Opposite Ends of the Country Spectrum

There are clearly two different types of country music represented on both of these shows this year. But there’s a reason why Kenzie did not walk away with the winner’s title and Chayce did. After Kenzie’s performance of George Strait’s “Heartland” during the first part of The Voice Season 20 finale, it became clear that he is quite the honky-tonk showman.

Kenzie did not end up on country superstar Blake Shelton‘s team due to a block by Kelly Clarkson. He finished the competition in second place as a member of Team Kelly. At the beginning of the competition, Shelton predicted that Kenzie would win the show before retracting his statements. Shelton then threw all of his support behind his own Team Blake artist, and eventual winner, Cam Anthony.

On any other season of The Voice, Kenzie would have walked away as the winner. Cam is just an outstanding performer and can take on many different genres of music. Kenzie and his mullet certainly got the love of the country voters, which took him all the way to the finale. But his old-school style could not match up to the fresh pop and soul fusion that Cam brought to the table. Cam was the most unique artist on Team Blake because he represented a genre outside of traditional country or rock.


Is Chayce a Rock Artist or a Country Artist at Heart?

Chayce dipped his toe into the country lane in Hollywood week by sorting himself into the country category during the Genre Challenge. He thought his look would set him apart from everyone else. He was right considering he himself pointed out that he was the only performer not wearing cowboy boots.

Even after sorting himself into the country category, it wasn’t until a few weeks into the live shows that people began to realize he was marketing himself as a country artist. After Caleb Kennedy was removed from the competition, Chayce jumped into the “country” slot.

There were definitely times in the competition where Chayce ditched the “yeehaw” and went more toward rock. But when his original song “23” topped the the iTunes Top 100 Country Songs Chart, it became clear that American Idol was going to have its second “country” winner since the show moved to ABC.


The ironic thing is, Chayce was once a member of the Sinking Sailors, a punk-reggae-funk band. He obviously does not mind dabbling into other genres like country.

“I think if I was around a bunch of guys who were playing steel guitar and could play the fiddle and stuff like that, then we would have made great country music,” Chayce told Daily Press at the beginning of the season. “But their music was reggae, so I picked up my guitar and we played some pretty good music.”


Will One of These Artists be More Successful Than the Other?

Chayce is not the cowboy boots wearing type, but his authenticity is one thing that may have really sold his shift into the country genre. Storytelling is a huge part of country music and Chayce excels in that area much like Kenzie. Country artists historically do well before and after American Idol. Chayce may have taken a cue from his competitors before him before the switch-up. Molding himself into the only country artist left in the competition gave him an edge with the block of country voters while still earning respect from rock lovers.

Chayce and Cam, on the otherhand, can both perform songs in multiple genres and get the job done. That’s why America awarded them with wins on both shows. It’s also the reason why Team Blake artist Jordan Matthew Young landed in third place on The Voice this season. He decided to go the same route as Chayce and perform songs in both the rock and country spectrums. Even after he was not one of the top vote-getters in the semi-finals, he earned the Instant Save ,which brought him to the finale due to his versatility. He is another artist that will not be put into a box.

The only reason why Jordan didn’t win The Voice is because Cam and Kenzie were just more consistent. Cam had the best vocals during the entire season of The Voice. Kenzie will more than likely stick to his country roots for his career beyond The Voice and will probably make a fortune doing so. As for Chayce, the future is very bright for the 24-year-old who is still finding major success with “23.”

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About the Author

Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is the Talent Guru here at Talent Recap. Her work has been featured at The Blast. Samantha graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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