The Voice season finale recap: Live Finale
A deserving winner takes the title while a slew of strong performances steal the show.
You could have told me any of the Top 3 Voice finalists finished in any variation of their first, second, and third order tonight, and I would have believed you. This might not have been the most dynamic season of The Voice ever, but it somehow ended up with the most marketable group of finalists the series has ever seen: All of Craig Wayne Boyd, Damien, Chris Jamison, and Matt McAndrew’s original songs from last night charted in the Top 10 on iTunes by this afternoon, and every single song performed was in the Top 50.
With that, any one of these finalists could have reasonably taken the title—but in the end, it was the country man with the luscious golden locks, precious child, and proudest coach. Craig Wayne Boyd didn’t give a single bad performance this season, and probably more than any other finalist, he’s ready to go out there with his biggest fan—Blake, of course—and make a record. Matt and Chris certainly both seem like they have serious potential as recording artists, and Damien has a voice that can bring you (and him) to tears, but CWB is locked and loaded to produce music in his genre.
The Voice treats country singers well, and CWB could be be The Voice’s first real superstar. But I’d also like to point out the wisdom doled out tonight by pop-prophet, Pharrell: Everyone was always going to kicked off at some point, but it’s all about the next step—what you do the day after you get kicked off. I have a feeling Chris might be in good guiding hands with Pharrell. And Matt was always Adam’s favorite, so…
Speaking of the coaches: I’ve been going on and on about a portion of the show that only took up about the last two minutes. The rest of the two hours were spent decidedly not talking about who won. That meant performances from the returning Top 20 contestants, a whole slew of this year’s Grammy nominees, a few surprisingly funny vignettes, and a lot of giggling from the coaches. Here are 10 of the best winning moments that Carson Daly served up to us on a Nissan-sponsored platter while we waited patiently to this season’s results. By that, of course, I mean while we waited to see whether Adam or Blake would be winning whatever bet (I guarantee it involves nudity) they had riding on their own personal victory.
Winning Moment #1: Sponsors Keep the Lights On
My own personal favorite moments were any time Carson had to talk about a sponsor, including saying the phrase, “And they get red thumb rings!” after the finalists had just, in fact, won Nissans. But also, thumb rings! (They were a reminder to not text and drive, so they were at least important thumb rings.) He also got the privilege of listing the winning “Best Value Moments” up in the Sprint box. I bet you’re missing Christina Milian now, huh, Carson?
Winning Moment #2: Go Your Own Way, But Do it Together
All of the finalists got the chance tonight to bring back their “best Voice friends,” as Carson called them, for a group performance. While everyone sounded good (must be all that biffle-status), I’d say Matt did the best drafting with Sugar Joans, Taylor Phelan, Mia Pfirrman, and Taylor John Williams, and chose the best song, blending harmoniously and keeping the staging simple on “Go Your Own Way.” And special props to Sugar, Taylor, and DaNica Shirey who pulled double duty on the Bring-Back performances.
Winning Moment #3: Front Men
Matt McAndrew hit the stage with Fall Out Boy, where they sufficiently rocked out with their—well, you get it. But oddly, Fall Out Boy never even looked Matt’s way while he nailed the performance from faraway stage left. A similar thing happened when Damien performed with Jennifer Hudson. They were playful during the performance, but looked to have some sort of force field between them that wouldn’t let them even look at each other after they were done singing. I guess this is The Voice, and not “The Connection”—anyway, they sounded fierce on “It’s Your World.”
Winning Moment #4: NBC Cross-Promotion
Speaking of Fall Out Boy, did you know Patrick Stump is a judge on The Sing-Off special this year—which just so happens to be airing tomorrow night on NBC? I say, with absolutely no irony, that you should be watching The Sing-Off tomorrow night on NBC. That little nugget of a cappella is just the gift that keeps on giving… and keeps on finding new ways to avoid cancellation. For that, we are thankful. Of course, we’re also thankful for One Direction, whose December 23rd special will keep the lights on at NBC in 2015. Thank you, One Direction—if you’re considering a new “Sexy One,” might I recommend Chris Jamison?
NEXT: It’s all about ladies, coaches, and CWB…
Winning Moment #5: BANG BANG
The seventh season of The Voice did not treat its female finalists especially well, but this finale sure did. After tonight’s flawless performance of “Bang Bang,” I would buy tickets to a live performance of “Lady Marmalade Part 2: A Concert Spectacular with Bryana, Danica, Jean, Mia and Sugar.” The belters of Season 7 owned the stage in red lace and sequins, with coordinated dance moves, tuxedo’d backup dancers, and more killer notes than hair extensions (but probably only by a small margin).
Winning Moment #6: Pop Starzzzzz
Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson stopped by for an always-grooving performance of “Uptown Funk,” but this time, Bruno had golden curlers in his hair. Yes… golden curlers. In his hair. If you don’t believe me [that Bruno is wearing golden curlers in his hair], just watch. Okay, curlers aside, the energy on this performance was as unreal as every live Bruno Mars showing. They need to get this man in some sort of mentoring position on this show, stat. A less seasoned performer, Meghan Trainor, also stopped by to perform her proof that she’s not just a one-hit-wonder, “Your Lips Are Moving.” I’ve seen her do a few performances with live vocals now recently, and am consistently impressed with the energy she brings without losing the vocal complexity of her lyrics. That girl is pure pop. (That’s a compliment.)
Winning Moment #7: The Judges Are the Real Winners Here, Amiright?
With all of the performances and, y’know, music, there was surprisingly little of the judges tonight. But what we did get was, frankly, pretty funny. Each of the judges were featured in a little vignette where we got some behind the scenes looks at “what they’re really like”: Adam likes to sing show tunes, and has a pretty hilarious repertoire with Taylor Swift. Gwen is entirely lovable and the other coaches like to compare her to feline animals. Pharrell got a whole Star Wars sequence that featured his voice echoing like Yoda over his Yoda-like wisdom throughout the season. And Blake…dear goodness, Blake. I don’t know if they just caught me at the right moment, but I thought the compilation of “Emcee Blakey-Blake” rapping “Can’t Touch This” was Voice comedy gold.
Winning Moment #8: Caroling Coaches
Okay, I guess the judges were still around plenty. But tonight their contributions were less hyperbolic feedback, and more musical content. I’ll admit that I felt a little nervous when Carson announced the coaches would be singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” as coach sing-alongs don’t always go so well on The Voice. But when the cameras hit and everyone was in their holiday finery, including Gwen was in a red gown to die for, I knew they’d be all right. Everyone used their richest voices and reminded us why they get paid the big bucks.
Winning Moment #9: When Jessie Met Jamison
Chris Jamison really blossomed in the latter half of this season, from “When I Was Your Man” in the Semi-Finals to “Velvet” and “Cry Me a River” last night. He topped it all off with a stellar performance of Jessie J’s “Masterpiece” tonight, alongside the powerhouse herself. They looked and sounded like they perform duets together all the time, and I don’t think I was imagining that Jessie J seemed pretty impressed with her temporary vocal partner’s talent and stage presence. There were many notes shared, and many embraces to be had when the singing was done.
Winning Moment #10: The Actual Winning Moment
As Damien was announced 4th, and Chris was announced 3rd, it was truly a tossup between Matt and Craig. Both looked equally like they were about to vomit at the thought. But as soon as Craig’s name was called, Matt wrapped him in a big hug, and he let all that emotion loose—especially when the lights hit his wife and son in the audience, who soon joined him onstage for a particularly resonant encore performance of his original, “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face.” Indeed, there were smiles all around, and another notch on Coach Blake’s rotating chair.
What do you think of the Season 7 winner? Did the right person take home the creepy hand trophy? Do any of the other finalists have a shot at making their dreams come true, Jennifer-Hudson-style, following their loss to Craig? And finally, was it just me, or was this two-hour results show less painful than normal two-hour results shows?