Jordan Kirkdorffer earned a coveted spot on Team Blake for Season 14 of The Voice. The Indiana native was an accountant by day, sang in his church choir, and dreamed of a life in country music, when a producer from The Voice contacted Kirkdorffer directly and invited him to head straight Los Angeles to audition in front of the four coaches – Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson. It was an opportunity the 28-year-old knew he had to take.
But just because Kirkdorffer was given a fast track to the televised auditions, that didn't make him any less nervous when it was time for him to sing.
"When you're preparing for it, you know that that's the end goal," Kirkdorffer tells PopCulture.com. "You're going to be sitting in front of these four coaches. I listen to all of their music. So mentally, I don't know if my mind even comprehended what was going on. But at the same time, I was freaking out. I didn't even know what to feel. But when I went into it just thinking, 'OK, I'm just going to pretend like I just sold out an arena, these people are here to see me, and just put on the best performance of your life.'"
Kirkorffer sang the Brett Young hit, "In Case You Didn't Know," with both Shelton and Levine turning their red swivel chairs around. But although Levine made an impassioned plea, Kirkdorffer knew he wanted a spot on Team Blake.
"My end goal was Blake. That's who I really wanted," reveals Kirkdorffer. "I wanted to hear what [Levine] had to say, because it's Adam Levine. I listen to his music. But Blake, for me I was thinking not just about the show, but also the music industry, the country music industry, which is what I want to do. And he not only will coach me through the season, but also I feel like he could lead as an example for how to have a long lasting career. And that's what I want. Yes, I wanted to do great on the show, but I want to have a career. So that was why I picked Blake."
Kirkdorffer was paired with Wilkes for the Battle round, singing the Chris Stapleton hit, "Nobody to Blame." Shelton asked his good friend, and Country Music Freaks Tour partner, Trace Adkins, to help coach the two singers for their performance.
"They're both people who I've grown up listening to," acknowledges Kirkdorffer. "And then there's cameras on you, and you get your song, and you're not really comfortable with it yet. It's very raw. I had to instantly be like, 'OK, they're people. They are my coaches. They're going to give me advice, so don't freak out. This isn't the time to be a fan person about it.'"
Kirkdorffer and Wilkes both gave the performance their all, but Shelton ultimately chose Wilkes to continue, although he admitted it was a difficult choice for him. Shelton's decision meant that Kirkdorffer's time on The Voice came to an end.
"Knowing the outcome and knowing that I lost, besides that small detail, it was the most fun I've ever had on stage," shares Kirkdorffer. "Wilkes and I came into it, from the getgo, like, 'We're going to create a moment. We're going to work together as a cohesive team, and make this a collaboration, where it's something we can be proud of, and show our own lanes, but then work together.' And I feel like we accomplished that. Blake pushed us and challenged us, and it wasn't fun at times ... At the end of the day, I'm so proud of that battle, and if that's how I end the show, I want to hang my hat on that."
Although Kirkdorffer might not be on Team Blake any more, the lessons Shelton instilled in him will stay with Kirkdorffer for the remainder of his career.
"I learned how to be an artist," says Kirkdorffer. "He gave me a song that was not in my wheelhouse, and he told me that. He made me find out who I was. How would Jordan Kirkdorffer sing that? ... That was the best gift he gave me."
Kirkdorffer returned from The Voice to his accountant job in Tennessee, but he isn't at all giving up on his musical aspirations.
"I know I need to have income of some sort, but I'm all in on the music. Things are coming at me, which is great. I want to dive in on the writing. I want to dive in on just exploring more of what Jordan Kirkdorffer is going to sound like, and what do I want to say as an artist? That's my goal. I don't really know what all of it looks like at this point; it's still so new, and it's this new normal that I'm in, but I'm not going to take this opportunity I've been given and say, 'That was great,' and then move on. It's now a part of my life."
Photo Credit: Instagram/JordanKirkdorffer