The 16-year-old singer from Utah — who Blake Shelton tried to woo with a puppy during the audition round — went up against 36-year-old contestant Anders Drerup during the show’s battle round Monday night.
Coached by Nick Jonas, the pair sang a duet of Post Malone’s “Circles.”
In a clip that aired before the performance Drerup, who primarily sings classic rock, admitted the song was a bit out of his comfort zone.
“I don’t think my experience gives me a leg up at all,” he said.
In the end, the song was a better match for Brusa’s raspy voice — a style the Highland High School sophomore previously told the Deseret News comes from his early childhood days of screaming and annoying his two older sisters.
“You’re 16 walking around with that rasp. I can’t stand you; you’re so cute,” Kelly Clarkson told Brusa after the performance. “I’m a little worried about you for the finale, not going to lie, Tate.”
Although Shelton pretended to still be bitter that Brusa went with Team Nick Jonas during the audition round — “We’ll never know what happened to that puppy,” he joked — he said he believed Brusa had won the Battle round.
“It’s not that often that I agree with Kelly Clarkson, because she rarely makes sense,” Shelton joked. “You have that rawness about what you do.”
But John Legend, while impressed with Brusa’s tone, thought the young singer had a “limited range” and picked Drerup as the winner.
And then the decision was all up to Jonas — Brusa’s coach and one of his musical heroes. Brusa previously said he turned down a front-row seat to a Jonas Brothers concert in Salt Lake City last fall so he could go audition for “The Voice.”
That may have been a hard decision to make at the time, but because of that move, Brusa has had a lot of one-on-one time with Jonas. During the audition round, Jonas played Brusa’s guitar and gave the young singer some on-the-spot coaching.
Since then, Brusa has had even more personal instruction from Jonas. And he got to meet the other Jonas brothers during the week leading up to the Battle round.
“Tate, you are a phenomenal singer and there’s something about you that I’m drawn to,” Jonas said following the performance.“ Perhaps it’s your care for your craft at such a young age. Because maybe I see a little bit of myself in you.”
Jonas went with Brusa.
“I’m very grateful that Nick believes in me. I thought it was cool that he sees me in him,” Brusa said with excitement during the episode. “I can’t even speak.”
The Utah singer, who has watched “The Voice” since the show first aired in 2011, will next compete in the pre-taped Knockout rounds that begin April 13. The first live episode of “The Voice” is scheduled to air May 4, but with TV productions being suspended and delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, that schedule could likely change.