AP NEWS

AT THE JOURNEY’S END

October 20, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — She gave it her best shot, but Fort Gay, West Virginia, resident Rachel Messer’s journey on the hit TV show “The Voice” ended Tuesday night in the live battle rounds.

Messer and Katrina Cain, of Team Blake, sang Sarah McLachlan’s ethereal classic “In the Arms of an Angel” to the delight of all the judges.

“That was simply beautiful,” said judge Jennifer Hudson. “I love it when people can interpret and internalize a song and make it more than just notes.”

Fellow judge Kelly Clarkson said she understood how tough it is to sing that song.

“I have sang that song before and it is a difficult thing to do, but you both handled it gracefully in your own way,” she told the contestants.

Blake Shelton said both vocalists did an amazing job, but he picked Cain to continue on “The Voice.”

“I really wish I could move forward with both of you,” Shelton said.

Messer said in an email Wednesday that Shelton and “The Voice” have already helped her move forward with her career.

“The whole experience has been a dream come true,” Messer wrote. “I’ve gotten to work with some of the best in country music, and I know this is just a stepping stone on the path to my dream.”

Just to get on to “The Voice,” Messer had to stand out among up to 4,000 vocalists also vying to get onto season 15 of the popular NBC talent show.

The 19-year-old secured a spot on Team Blake in the blind auditions by singing the swinging country western song “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” a hit for Patsy Montana in 1934. LeAnn Rimes made it a hit again in 2006, and others — from Phish to Nickel Creek to Cyndi Lauper — have recorded it as well.

Messer, who is best known for playing mandolin and singing the past two seasons at Billie Jean Osborne’s Kentucky Opry at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, will be back at the Opry every weekend in December, starting Dec. 1 for the Opry’s Christmas show.

She is also teaming up with fellow “The Voice” contestant Mikele Buck from Team Kelly for a performance next week in southern West Virginia. They will be playing Rock Ridge Bar & Grill in Pipestem, West Virginia, on Saturday, Oct. 27.

“I’m just going to keep on keepin’ on. Music has been my life ever since I can remember,” Messer wrote. “I feel like this will absolutely open doors, and I can’t wait to share all the exciting things I have coming.”

Visit https://www.facebook.com/IAmRachelMesser to keep up with Messer’s singing career and upcoming concerts.