Talent Recap

‘Songland’ Episode 3 Recap: Kelsea Ballerini Looks For Her SIXTH #1 Hit


Reading Time: 4 minutes

The third episode of Songland brings a whole new dynamic, with young country star Kelsea Ballerini searching for her next hit. Fresh off her fifth #1 hit this week, Kelsea will listen to four songwriters and choose one single to record.

So who will win? And will this song be her SIXTH #1 hit? Let’s take a look at how it all went down this week on Songland.


Jack Newsome

Jack Newsome, the 22-year-old Justin Bieber lookalike, was the first songwriter up. He was a part of a boy band called NY5. His song is about a breakup, “Lying (Next to You).” Jack talks about how the song is country but with an electronic beat.

Overall, the song is nice but it has a lot of melodies and a lot going on in the different parts. The mentors suggest adding some breaks in the song to make it more dramatic. But they like the song and the lyrics! The country/pop roots seem like a great fit for Kelsea. Jack is paired with Shane McAnally to produce his song.

Jess Jocoy

Jess moved to Nashville to pursue her musical career. She said there, it was hard to stand out from the crowd since so many singers and songwriters flood the city! It’s easy for her to second guess herself.

But Jess’s song “Easy” is about falling in love and getting your heart broken. The lyrics are based on a personal experience she had. It’s an emotional ballad more in the traditional country realm. The mentors love the melody but want to make it more pop. And when Kelsea Ballerini riffs on it, it sounds amazing. Unfortunately, Jess doesn’t make it to the next round. Kelsea says she wants the story to remain hers.

Daniel Feels

To start it off, Daniel’s real last name is Goldberger. So that’s a shame. But anyway, Daniel is based in Los Angeles. In his package, he talks about how his song relates a lot to him as a hopeful romantic.

“Crush” is that song! It’s definitely a bop, with the super fun beat behind lyrics about having a crush. All the mentors and Kelsea are dancing along as he sings! Ester even compliments his dancing. Shane and Ryan instantly start working on it, suggesting breaking it down. The simplified backtrack gives Kelsea something to sing over. Daniel is excited about what it turned into! He is paired with mentor Ester Dean.

Darius Coleman

Darius is a young singer-songwriter from Philadelphia. He said he mainly writes pop music but writing for Kelsea Ballerini would be #goals. He is also a backup singer! Darius even says Ryan Tedder is on his dream board. He wrote his song, “Better Luck Next Time” for his friend who was cheated on.

As soon as he started singing, Kelsea melted into her chair. He has an amazing voice, which helps to sell the song! The mentors say they didn’t want the song to end. Kelsea compliments the “country hook” on his pop song. She says it would fit on country radio right now, but suggests bringing the chorus up. Darius is partnered with Ryan Tedder to work on his song.

Jack Newsome (with Shane McAnally)

Working with Jack, Shane wanted to focus on the lyrics. He thinks they were paired together because of his ability to do a “master class” on lyrics. They add a break between “lying” and “next to you” each time so the double entendre is conveyed better. Shane and Jack also add a new beat in to update it. The end result seemed almost TOO pop-y for Kelsea in my opinion. But she said that he “nailed it!”

Darius Coleman (with Ryan Tedder)

After adding Ryan to his dream board, now Darius gets to work with him! His initial instinct was finding the right key so she can sing the chorus in her head voice. They FaceTime Kelsea to make sure they’re on the right track there. Darius and Ryan both record vocals for the backtrack and Darius says he “loves the direction” it’s going in. They went from acoustic to electric too. The end result was absolutely magical. I definitely see this as the front-runner. Darius’s epic voice and falsetto probably help sell it too! Kelsea couldn’t stop thanking him.

Daniel Feels (with Ester Dean)

Daniel and Ester start by FaceTiming Kelsea Ballerini! She wants to slow down the track and have it stripped down. Because of that, they decide to do the next performance with just an acoustic guitar. Ester wants to make more memorable moments, simplifying the song. She also suggests having a female sing it so Kelsea can hear herself singing it. Their performance is a big improvement on the original, which was already great. It also sounds much more like Kelsea Ballerini. She even says it makes it easier to envision herself singing it!

Kelsea Ballerini’s New Single Is…

When it came time to pick a winner, Kelsea went with Darius Coleman’s “Better Luck Next Time!” Ryan Tedder finally got a victory! Now each mentor has a win under their belt. The song fits perfectly with her sound and style so this wasn’t a huge shocker. And it is available now everywhere!

That’s it for this week’s episode. Tune in to Songland again next week when the Jonas Brothers are the featured artist! And stay tuned for our recap show on YouTube on Thursday.

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