The Voice season finale recap: Jermaine Paul wins over Juliet Simms
It’s been one crazy journey, hasn’t it, Voice fans? It seems like only yesterday that Christina was exploring lilliputian headwear options, or that Katrina Parker was re-enacting her infamous mold story, or that RaeLynn was yelling at us from behind a hay bale. Yes, it’s been quite the ride, and it all culminated in Tuesday’s elimination episode, which featured approximately 110 minutes of filler and about 10 minutes of actual, as-promised results.
The verdict? After three months of blind auditions, battles and live performances, Jermaine Paul walked away with the official title of being The Voice‘s season 2 winner. In second place came Juliet Simms, long thought to be the one to beat — and, technically, Jermaine did just that. Crooning in third place was Tony Lucca, whose gigantic fan base could potentially have banded together to push their favorite Mouseketeer into the top spot. And in fourth came Il Divo redux Chris Mann, whose Groban-esque vibrato brought him close to the title, but not close enough.
The show started off exciting enough, with a fabulously fantastic performance of the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.” I’m slightly biased since it’s my second favorite song of all time, but beyond that, the performance was a blast of energy that kicked off the show. It was hands down one of the most fun performances on the show this season, courtesy of Jermaine Paul and an assembled crew of eliminated boys: Jamar Rogers, whom we miss dearly; Pip, whom we also miss dearly; and James Massone, who wore a headband again.
Our first montage of the night was a blooper reel, and it was funny enough, sure. We got to see the coaches giggle and make funny faces and say silly things about each other. But little did we know that the montages would not be so welcome throughout the rest of the evening, multiplying with greater frequency than the Saw movies and offering less and less creative insight into the inner workings of Adam, Blake, Cee Lo and Christina. Did we really need three minutes of Adam and Blake talking about their platonic bromance?
NEXT: A night filled with awkward pairings (Flo Rida and Juliet? Really?)
Flo Rida and Juliet took the stage for the first awkward pairing of the night, followed by a group performance of “Bittersweet Symphony” by Chris, Lindsey Pavao and Katrina Parker. As the Verve tune concluded, Lindsey looked on the verge of tears: perhaps because she was so overcome with emotion, or perhaps because she was forced to sing a bittersweet symphony called “Bittersweet Symphony” with the guy who stood between her and the finals. Just a thought.
After the aforementioned bromance montage, Jermaine popped up again to sing, this time with Tony Lucca and Hall & Oates, who were the obvious choice to perform a song from 1977 on a television singing competition 35 years later. The song was pleasant enough, if not out of the blue, but wasn’t it a bit cruel to force Jermaine to be a back-up singer again? That’s like Daddy Warbucks adopting Annie and then deciding to chuck her back into the orphanage after buying her a nice coat from Best’s. Unnecessary musical theatre references, comin’ at ya.
(Commercial break: That annoying little Sprint girl said, “Watch out for my rooots,” and I resisted the urge to throw my television out the window.)
Almost an hour in and still no mention of eliminations, but instead we’re treated (is that the right word?) to a performance of “Superstition” by a random assortment of ousted women. Kim Yarbrough, Naia Kete (whose hair is BIGGER THAN EVER), Pepperjack Cheesa and Sera Hill brought the diva back to the stage, and all of them served as an interesting foil to Juliet, illustrating just how unique the last-standing female vocalist is in today’s music landscape.
A ridiculously hilarious crossover saw Cee Lo heading into Pawnee, Indiana to take a pit stop at the Parks and Recreation department. Although seeing Ron Swanson in one of the spinning chairs was a gift in and of itself, I couldn’t help but wish that Leslie Knope had donned Christina’s tiny hat on her equally Aguilera-esque locks. Still, total success. Much more so than the pointless Cee Lo impersonation by SNL‘s Kenan Thompson that followed, which was even more bizarre than the blind auditions’ Lorax promotion.
NEXT: Do we have a winner yet? Seriously, still no winner?
Another performance: Juliet teaming up with Erin Willett, RaeLynn and former teammate Jamar for “With A Little Help From My Friends.” RaeLynn would later say that Juliet had “adopted her like a little sister,” which is just too strange a sibling relationship to even fathom at this point in our Voice journey.
Lady Antebellum sang some song, and then Tony was joined by Jordis Unga to power through Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” which would have made for an exceptionally ironic swan song if this was one of the previous live elimination episodes. Finally, an hour and 40 minutes later, the performances concluded with Justin Bieber’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it world premiere of “Boyfriend,” and then we reached our raison d’être.
In the last 10 minutes (!) of the two hour show, host Carson Daly brought the performers to the center of the stage, where he announced that only a quarter of one percentage point separated fourth place Chris Mann from third place Tony Lucca. As it turns out, a 4 percent margin separated second place Juliet from eventual winner Jermaine. After the brief metaphorical coronation ceremony, Jermaine launched into “I Believe I Can Fly” as friends, family and past contestants joined him onstage. To Jermaine’s credit, he made it through the song better than this chick.
All in all, the unnecessary filler from tonight’s episode left a bad taste in my mouth, and by the time we reached the actual eliminations, my enthusiasm had all but disappeared. A bittersweet note with which to end this season of The Voice, no doubt, but I’m still thrilled for Jermaine, who thoroughly deserved his win, even if Juliet was thought to be the victor. Needless to say, she’ll find herself staring down a lucrative career, too.
Until next season, Voice fans!
A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.