Our first video cuts to the chase. There’s no setup like you often get on videos of talent show auditions. After a brief piano introduction, Ryley Tate Wilson starts singing, then biff, bam, first coach Kelly Clarkson, followed quickly by Niall Horan, turn their chairs—all in the first 17 seconds. Blake Sheldon takes a little longer to turn, and Chance the Rapper waits out till near the end, but, with the privileged view given by the camera, there is little doubt that Chance will swing his chair.
The introductions and banter come after Ryley Tate Wilson’s four-chair-turn version of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.”. Even so, the official The Voice 2023 video cuts off, leaving us on a cliffhanger. Which coach will Wilson choose? All four coaches put in a good pitch, and it’s not clear which team Wilson will join. Even the “country guy,” Blake Sheldon says, will leave the show after the season if Wilson doesn’t join Team Blake (Sheldon was leaving anyway). Let’s watch so you can catch up:
As you’ve seen, Wison got a big response from the coaches when he said, “I’m Ryley Tate Wilson; I’m fifteen years old, and I’m from Montgomery, Alabama.”. It’s the fifteenth bit that astonished the judges. Kelly Clarkson exclaimed, “You’re fifteen and sounding like that, oh my gosh.”. Niall Horan jumped to his feet, saying, “Oh my God.” Seated, he said, “Ryley, my head nearly exploded. That was the best audition we’ve seen here by a long shot.” So why did Horan’s head nearly explode?
The answer is the reason why Wilson ended up choosing Horan. In an interview with The Montgomery Advertiser, Wilson said that he’d planned to go with Clarkson because he loved her music, she is a consistent coach, and she wins often. Horan, however, “was a singer at 15, and he was on a singing competition show at 15. He went through a voice change while being a professional. I just thought he would be a great coach because he had gone through what I’m going through now.” Here’s more of young Wilson:
That was Ryley Tate Wilson singing Billie Eilish’s When the Party’s Over in the Playoffs. This means I have a little catching up to do. How did Wilson get to the playoffs? Well, in the Battle Round, Wilson “lost” to his Team Horan competitor, but Coach Horan used his special Playoff Pass to keep Wilson on the show. This vote of confidence catapulted Wilson past the knockouts to the playoffs, where he sang When the Party’s Over.
After the Eilish song, Horan called Wilson “a super-gifted, talented 15-year-old.”. “Ryley Tate is Future Boy,” he said. Wilson was the first singer Horan put through to the live semifinals. Wilson sang Billy Joel’s Vienna in the semis, earning praise from the judges but not enough votes to go through to the finals.
In the end, it was probably Wilson’s youth that counted against him, rather than his singing. He was just a little too unformed. When he went on the show, he was being homeschooled. His social life revolved around community theatre, including a local production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and singing at the Landmark Church of Christ in Montgomery. “Most Wednesdays I lead worship for youth, and I love it. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do,” he told AL.com.
While waiting for the pre-recorded episodes of The Voice to air, Wilson said he was working on his first album at home. “It’s hard to describe. It’s alternative, pop. It’s a lot of different genres,” he said. “It definitely floats somewhere in the middle of pop, R&B, alternative, and rock.” So far, it has not materialised, but since The Voice, Wilson has posted three cover songs to YouTube.
With time, Ryley Tate Wilson is sure to find his place as a musician. As coach Niall Horan said, “Ryley Tate is the Future Boy.”