The Voice recap: And the season 21 winner is …
It's the end of the road for Season 21. Tonight, and one of our final five — Hailey Mia, Wendy Moten, Girl Named Tom, Paris Winningham, or Jershika Maple — will win the whole shebang. They certainly aren't making choosing a winner easy! Last night was one of the best Voice finales in a long time. There's an obvious frontrunner (here's a hint, it's a trio), but honestly you could make an argument for any of the five finalists to win this thing. That's exciting!
As always, we have a ton of performances before we learn who our winner will be. Aside from some huge names taking the stage (uh, J.Lo anyone?), all five of the finalists will be performing alongside their coaches. These performances obviously don't impact voting, but let's chat about them a bit.
Hailey Mia and Kelly Clarkson, "Funny" by Zedd and Jasmine Thompson
These two are super cute together and Hailey really nails it when she calls Kelly her "fun aunt." That's the vibe here. Kelly Clarkson's constantly proud and impressed by what her teen pop singer can do — and by the fact that Hailey can hit lower notes than she can. They sound great together, no surprise there, and Hailey continues to be the most contemporary sounding singer of the season.
Paris Winningham and Blake Shelton, "Love Train" by The O'Jays
Oh, okay Blake Shelton in a suit singing an O'Jays song. This performance is a fun one. That's no surprise since it really seems like country boys Paris and Blake are best buds. But aside from having a good time, Blake says that although he was the coach, he "learned a lot from Paris" this season. It's very nice! Also nice: He really makes it a point to let Paris shine in this duet.
Jershika Maple and John Legend, "O, Holy Night"
Jershika is yet another steal that has made it all the way to the finale. Doesn't it seem like the Jershika Maple/John Legend team-up was always meant to happen? He says that he's proud of his finalist and praises Jershika for always rising to the challenge. She doesn't know how to phone it in. For their duet, Jershika and John opt to get into the Christmas spirit and although I'd been hoping to watch these two throw down, this is lovely and Jershika hits some seriously high notes.
Girl Named Tom and Kelly Clarkson, "Leave Before You Love Me" by Marshmello and Jonas Brothers
Introducing GNT … K. Kelly Clarkson would like to be the fourth member of her folk group. And she should! Hey, she's the one pushing them to do something a little more modern sounding here and it's fun and refreshing. Not that anyone seems to have a problem with the usual GNT fare — as Carson Daly notes, they had four singles in the iTunes Top 10 at the same time. Girl Named Tom feels unstoppable.
Wendy Moten and Blake Shelton, "Just A Fool" by Christina Aguilera featuring Blake Shelton
Wendy and Blake forever, guys! Wendy talks about what a genius of a coach Blake is. Blake talks about how working with Wendy has been the "easiest coaching gig [he's] ever had." They both seem very happy to have been given the opportunity to work together all season. It's been a soul-meets-country situation all along and that's where they take their final duet.
So how about those other performances? Well, The Voice is not playing around with their grand finale event. The evening kicks off with a performance by Coldplay who is joined on stage by ... holograms of BTS. Listen, the show is starting an hour later than normal and I am old and maybe I'm losing it a little. What is happening? Also, I'm fine with it. Country artist Walker Hayes takes the stage to sing "Fancy Like" which I think is a song about Oreo milkshakes. Again, what? Also, sure!
Then things get really wild: Nick Kroll (!) and Matthew McConaughey (?!!) swing by to introduce their Sing 2 co-stars Tori Kelly and Keke Palmer who perform "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" flanked by the Top 13. It's festive!
Also stopping by to promote a new movie and make her Voice debut: JENNIFER LOPEZ. What a blessing. She performs "On My Way" (accompanied by POTR's Lukas Nelson) from her upcoming rom-com Marry Me, a film for which I saw the trailer and within mere seconds said "yes, I will watch this so hard." Jennifer Lopez in a rom-com cannot be beat!
The evening is really stacked. In addition to J.Lo, this season's mega-mentor Ed Sheeran (who was an excellent mentor and should be asked back!!) pops by to sing his new single "Shivers." Carrie Underwood sings her new duet "Hallelujah" with Coach John Legend and former Voice coach (and champ) Alicia Keys returns to perform "Old Memories" from her new album. It's a family affair on The Voice tonight. Speaking of, Ariana Grande — who surprisingly did not end up with an artist in the finale — isn't completely left out of the party: She and Kid Cudi perform "Just Look Up," from, yes, the movie Don't Look Up.
And now let's get to what we all came here for — the final results of the season.
In fifth place — Jershika Maple!
In fourth place — Hailey Mia!
In third place — Paris Winningham!
And so it comes down to a final two that has felt inevitable all season long. After a tense pause, we learn that Wendy Moten has come in second place ...
This means that Team Kelly's sibling trio Girl Named Tom has won season 21 of The Voice!
A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.