After 10 weeks of blind auditions, boxing-ring “battle rounds,” and then rapid fire live-performances episodes where America finally got to vote — not to mention countless shots of Christina Aguilera’s heaving bazooms and Adam Levine’s delectable everything — The Voice has wrapped its action-packed inaugural season. And the winner is…
“Family Man Javier Colon”! Yes indeed, at the end of a rather low-key episode that allowed the four remaining finalists to duet (with varying degrees of success) alongside celebrity vocalists, Carson Daly delivered the nation’s final verdict with his trademark robotic precision. (Don’t let that boy near the pool, or his motherboard will be RUINED!) The “CarSon 2011” model started by revealing that the top two contestants were within two percentage points of each other’s final voting tallies, and then announced that those two vocalists were Dia Frampton and Javier. Seconds later, a stunned Javier was declared the ultimate champ, and he graciously praised his runner-up — and fellow finalists Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan — while receiving the customary confetti shower.
I can’t say I’m at all shocked or upset with the result — despite the fact that if I ruled The Voice, Javier would’ve wound up in fourth place (behind Vicci, Dia, and Beverly) and despite the fact that if I lived in Las Vegas, I’d probably have wagered a few dollars that the crown was destined for Dia’s head. (Hey, the Lady Frampton dominated our “who should win?” poll here at TVLine with 50.3% of the vote, so it’s not like I was all alone.) Looking back at Javier’s journey, it felt like he peaked at his audition — a lilting cover of “Time After Time” — and got a wee bit less confident over the course of his subsequent performances. Heck, Adam Levine himself admitted his favorite moment from the competition occurred during the blind auditions when he heard Javier sing for the very first time.
But like I said, I can’t lie and say I’m shocked or upset with how it all played out. Perhaps at the end of the day, The Voice‘s vibe of convivial competition, coupled with its decidedly lean season — only 10 weeks total compared to the comparably tumescent five-month cycle of American Idol— made me a little less unhinged in rooting for any one contestant in particular. After all, how many nefarious producer plots, judging inconsistencies, and cries of sabotage can one blogger imagine when there are only four episodes per season requiring viewer voting? (Which doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying to formulate a plot involving Opus Dei, the Lost island numbers, and menacing werewolves to explain Rebecca Loebe’s Battle Round loss.)
And there are two other reasons the result sits well with me. For one, The Voice‘s core setup — each of the four coaches gets one of his or her protégés all the way to the end — meant we ended up with four vocalists disparate enough that it kinda felt like they weren’t ultimately in competition with one another at all. And as his mentor Adam Levine so often reminded us, Javier seems like a genuinely nice guy whose multiple near misses with record-industry success make his victory as feel-good of a story as NBC’s zippy new franchise could’ve hoped for. Oh, and plus, he really can sing super-pretty.
I just wish Javier had been paired with a slightly less incongruous duet partner for the season finale — or perhaps that whoever was responsible for the vocal arrangement had let Jesus (or, really, anyone) take the wheel. Don’t get me wrong, I think Stevie Nicks is absolutely divine, and “Landslide” is a tremendous composition, but this pairing sounded more like a case of two voices colliding than blending together in perfect harmony. Maybe Javier in his sequined blazer and Stevie in her fingerless gloves got distracted by an audience full of hideous swaybots moving out of time and out of sync to the music?
It could’ve been worse, though. Take poor Beverly, for example, who got stuck with a deal that was rawer than steak tartare: Having to pair up with Ryan Tedder on OneRepublic’s tepid current single “Good Life.” At one point in the song, Beverly began howling as if she was doing a Gregorian chant, while her celebrity partner zipped out into the audience like an energetic honeybee. Yeah, sure, he threw his arm around our bald soul sister, but physical contact does not musical chemistry make.
We now pause for a burning question: Have I been mangling Ryan Tedder’s last name (Teh-Dur) for years now, or did Carson Daly’s pronunciation (Tee-Dur) just prove how long it’s been since he was at the control panel of TRL? Somebody set the record straight; Google is of no help on this matter!
At the end of the night, it was Dia and Vicci who drew the long straws for their duets. The latter lady really hit her stride on the last two-thirds of Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” especially when she stopped being polite and let out her inner warrior. I’m still flummoxed by the raggedy state of Pat Monahan’s hair — dude, we’re in the era of high-definition TV, get a brush! — and I still prefer Mishavonna Henson’s American Idol Season 8 rendition (yes, yes, I’m bringing her up again…because my indignity never subsides in the face of unavenged injustice), but Vicci sounded great in her own right. Plus, her mentor Cee Lo snuck in the most incisive, amusing love letter of the night: “We will never be severed by the scrutiny or the status-quo of the American voting public or anyone’s opinions.” Wait, did Lil C write that for him?
And finally, there was Dia and Her Unfinished Hairdo — flipped up in spots, tucked under in others — joining her mentor’s wife, Miranda Lambert, for a haunting cover of “The House That Built Me.” It helps that the ballad itself is such a thing of delicate beauty that not even a voice as fouled as Heidi Montag could completely ruin it. (God, forgive me for even sending such a blasphemous idea into the universe. And Heidi, when you get the Google Alert for this article bearing your name, please don’t harm “The House That Built Me” just to spite this humble blogger.) But the women’s voices, different as they are, managed to weave together like delicate lace. Who can blame papa bear Blake Shelton for getting choked up, especially when I’m convinced his bond with his team members runs a little bit deeper than those of his fellow mentors. (I’m not the only one who gets that vibe, right?)
And with that, we come to the end of The Voice‘s first season. I may be in the minority here, but I’d kind of love it if NBC added another four or five weeks to Season 2 — maybe once we’ve reached the Top 12, we could lose two singers per week till we’re down to the Top 4? — just so that we get to know our contestants (and their voices) a little better before we’ve got to pick a winner. And maybe, for Season 2, the Top 4 contestants could have a hand in writing their final song? (The better to know what type of artist we’re putting our votes behind.) But aside from those nitpicks, I’m glad the old Peacock went ahead and launched a viable competitor to American Idol. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got room in my heart (and on my DVR) for two (heck, maybe even three) great singing competitions — and room on my iPod for lots of great new music. Any show that gave us four rock-solid finalists — not to mention great tracks from Rebecca Loebe, Frenchie Davis, and Casey Weston — has to be doing something right. Right?
Check back here at TVLine.com over the next few days to get my Q&As with the Top 4 contestants — and my countdown of the season’s 10 best performances. Until then…
What did you think of The Voice? Are you happy with how the season ended? What did you think of the contestants’ final celebrity duets? And what about that blasted social media room and its product-shilling mistress of ceremonies, Allison Haislip? Can we get a remodeling of that space and concept next time around? Sound off in the comments on all things Voice-related, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.