Justin Bieber Returns and the Winner is Announced – This Week on The Voice

Well, folks, that’s it, another season of The Voice is over, and another winner has been crowned?  So, who won the coveted first place prize of a record contract?  I’m going to pull a Carson/Voice finale and make you wait…(So, if you really want to know, just skip to the end).

On Monday night’s performance show, each contestant performed one solo song (the only one that counted as votes if bought on iTunes), one cover of a song by their coach, and one duet with said coach. Starting it off was Team Blake’s Jermaine Paul, singing ‘I Believe I Can Fly’.  As someone who remembers this song as the most mocked pop song on the playground, I was skeptical of the song choice, but, Jermaine Paul gave such an overwhelming performance that he somehow made the song sound genuine.  His moving rendition earned him a standing ovation from the judges.   (Also, whoever’s decision it was to leave his bowtie untied, thank you).

Juliet Simms was next, thanking her coach, Cee Lo, with a rendition of ‘Crazy‘. It was fine, but I don’t think the song really suited her.  But, in her defense, I think that the covers for the judges were, all in all, the most generic performances of the night.  Chris Mann did the best coach cover with his performance of ‘The Voice Within’.  The song, off Xtina’s groundbreaking album, ‘Stripped’, is one of my favorite Xtina tracks, and Chris did it justice.  Later in the show, Jermaine performed Blake Shelton’s ‘God Gave Me You‘ in a way that was, according to Carson, “Way better than the original!”  And Tony Lucca went with Maroon 5’s early single, ‘Harder to Breathe‘.  All of Tony’s performances blend together for me, and this one didn’t stand out as particularly exciting.

As his last performance for votes, Tony did a bluegrass arrangement (originated by Hugo) of Jay-Z’s classic ’99 Problems’.  It was rumored that the song choice was supposed to be a dig at Christina, a rumor that, at least for me, was only made more believable after Adam took off his button down to reveal a ‘Team Xtina’ t-shirt  (that move definitely felt more like a dig to me than a sign of love).  The performance was solid, but not without drama.

When Carson asked Christina what she thought of the performance, Christina praised the vocals, but was quick to point out the derogatory lyrics of the song (Tony never actually said the word ‘bitch’, but, we all know it’s there).  Though Adam was quick to say that it’s a ‘metaphor’, I have to agree with Christina.  I love the song, and the arrangement was brilliant, but ‘bitch’ is a derogatory term used all too often to describe women.  In fact, in one of my favorite Xtina songs, ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’, she comments on the usage of the word, and how quick people are to judge women in a way that they aren’t with men.  This very dilemma applies to the treatment Xtina has been getting both on the show and in the press.  Everybody is quick to call her mean when she has harsh criticism, but if Adam says something that could be hurtful, he’s just telling it like it is.  Just some food for thought…

Tony’s third performance, a duet of ‘Yesterday’ with coach Adam, was more of the same.  The more they bring it up, the more I agree with Christina’s original assessment of him as ‘one dimensional’.  As far as duets with coaches I think this one and Juliet Simms and Cee Lo’s ‘Born to be Wild’ were the least interesting.  In contrast, Chris Mann and Christina’s duet, ‘The Prayer’, was the best of the night.

GORGEOUS.

In one of the least surprising, but appropriate, song choices of the season, Chris Mann sang ‘You Bring Me Up’ (Josh Groban!) as his last solo.  I loved when the high school chorus joined him on stage: he seemed so happy to have them there with him.  Monday night was Chris’ best night on the show, no doubt.

Jermaine and Blake made their duet of ‘Soul Man’ the most playful of the night.  The behind the scenes showed Blake, or should I say ‘Shuffling Shelton’, asking Jermaine to coach him this time around.  Jermaine and Blake had fun with the performance, and were a great match on stage (vocally and vertically).

Finally, Juliet closed the show with ‘Freebird‘.  I was happy to see her get back to the emotional side she showed in the blind auditions, it was a perfect last performance.

The next night, it was time for the incredibly drawn out finale.  Time-fillers, courtesy of The Voice, included a blooper reel, a video about Adam and Blake’s bromance (spoiler alert: Blake is leaving Adam for Carson!), and a video about Cee Lo’s trusty sidekick, Purrfect (the angry looking cat).  There were also extra performances by Lady Antebellum, Hall and Oats, Flo Rida (performing with Juliet Simms) and, of course, the one and only Justin Bieber.

The finalists also got to perform with friends from eliminations past!  Jermaine brought back Team Adam’s Pip, and Team Cee Lo’s Jamar and James Missoni, to sing Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’.  When they came out in their matching gold suit jackets and did their dance moves, I was sold.

EPIC.

Chris Mann teamed up with fellow semi-finalists Lindsey Pavao ( also from Team Xtina) and Team Adam’s Katrina Parker for ‘Bittersweet Symphony’.  The three of them together surprised me, but, they sounded amazing together.  Another awesome and unexpected group was made by Juliet Simms, who brought back Erin Willett (Team Blake), RaeLynn (also Team Blake), and Jamar to perform ‘With a Little Help From My Friends‘.

The most underwhelming group performance goes to Tony Lucca and Jordis Unga (Team Blake) with ‘Go Your Own Way‘. They were great together, but, still, boring.  (Full disclosure: this boredom could be due to the fact that I never fell in love with either contestant).  It was only matched by the strong, but uninteresting, performance of ‘Superstition‘ by forgotten contestants, Kim Yarbrough (Team Adam), Cheesa (Team Cee Lo), Sera Hill (Team Xtina), and Naia Kete (Team Blake).

Needless to say, I was more than ready when the episode came to an end and the winner was announced.  Chris Mann came in 4th, and was comforted with a huge hug from proud coach, Christina.  (Question: Did anybody else hear him telling her that she looked ‘pretty hot’ when she got up on stage?).  3rd place went to Tony Lucca, bringing me joy, and shocking Juliet.

After a long dramatic pause, Carson named JERMAINE PAUL the winner!  Blake was beside himself with joy, and Jermaine was overcome with emotion.  Though he hasn’t always been my favorite (I miss you, Jamar), Jermaine has always been amazing, and he was my favorite of the final four.  (Also, how cute was his big hug with Chris Mann?)

After it was announced, the poor guy still had to sing ‘I Believe I Can Fly’.  Jermaine almost brought me to tears as he stopped every few words to hug a loved one.

The Second season of The Voice ended on a high note with lots of love.  Now, who’s excited for next season? Are you also hoping they bring back Christina Milian as their ‘correspondent’? Are you happy with the winner?  What do you think about the Adam vs. Xtina saga?  Are you team Badam or team Carake (Blarson?)? Sound off in the comments!

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