First things first. Actually, it’s more like first things 47th or thereabouts, seeing as how you probably learned hours ago that Jermaine Paul is this year’s winner of “The Voice.” And if you know that, you no doubt also are aware that in tonight’s finale, Juliet Simms came in second, Tony Lucca third and Chris Mann a very close fourth.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to something even more important. Because, as has been proven in this space for three months now, it’s not so much what happens on each episode of “The Voice” that counts. It’s what I think of what happens on each episode of “The Voice” that really matters. And seeing as how this is my last blog of the season, I figured the appropriate course of action is to look back on tonight’s final show and reflect upon what knowledge I’ve gained from the experience of covering it.
I learned that….
…Paul was already receiving congratulatory calls even before he left the stage, starting with one from his former boss. Practically as soon as his name was called, his cell phone started ringing. And once he saw who it was, this was one called he figured he should take. “It was Alicia…she was watching the show with Mama Keys and the family and wanted to congratulate me right there,” Paul said after the show. “She told me how proud she was, screaming at the top of the lungs. That was the real deal, real live TV right there!”
….Mann knew who won before anyone else in the room did. It seems that once he was told he’d come in fourth and stepped aside to join his coach, Christina Aguilera, he accidentally peeked at host Carson Daly’s card with the winner’s name on it. “He didn’t see me do it,” he confessed after the show. “I looked over and just saw all the names and realized that Jermaine had one. I kind of did a double-take, and was very excited for him. I turned to Christina and said, ‘I know who won. Do you want to know?’ She said no but I desperately wanted to tell someone. I looked at my parents, because they were sitting with Jermaine’s wife and was trying to send a signal to them…but it didn’t work.”
…the bigger the controversy, the shorter Aguilera’s wardrobe becomes. News from the show these past couple of days seemed to revolve around her apparent feud and general contempt for Lucca. This isn’t the first time, of course. The case of the battling ex-Mickey Mouse Club members has been a mystery all season, and every week, her outfits seem to shrink and tighten accordingly. To the point where tonight’s outfit seemed more like spangly underwear in search of a dress to cover them. Trust me….every time she got up during a commercial break to talk to someone or sign some autographs, she certainly took everyone’s mind off the Adam controversy. Of course, NBC tried to accomplish that same goal by showing all sorts of taped packages designed to show us the coaches are all buddies in the long run. So why is it that after seeing them all, I still think Purrfect the Cat may be the one I’d pick if I ever made it on the show?
…hotel security might want to just give Simms’ luggage a quick pat down before she checks out and heads home. She’s got a lot of great memories to take with her, of course. And then there’s the brand new Kia she and the other finalists got as parting gifts. Perhaps just as valuable is the song that her coach, Cee Lo Green, gave her tonight, along with the promise of producing it for her. However, that apparently isn’t enough. “I think I might be going home with some shampoos and conditioners and soaps and maybe some bed sheets,” she said, laughing about this in a way that still left you wondering whether or not she’d actually be doing this.
…these people really do like each other. I know, I know….it never seems real when reality show contestants talk about “becoming a family” as they work their way through a season. Still, I’ve seen that camaraderie every week as the singers talk to the press post-show, constantly joking around with each other. Whether it’s Simms and Erin Willett kidding around about the latter’s pre-show routine (which apparently included a regular….well….bathroom break) or Lucca and Mann engaging in a mock fistfight, there was a chemistry to the contestants that you couldn’t really sense at home. Until tonight, when each finalist got to invite friends back to sing with him or her. There was something so family reunion-esque about seeing who they called upon and how much fun they all had on the stage….the whole thing started to feel like the talent show on the last night of summer camp, with everybody getting together to do something fun one last time. And no performance was better than that of Paul and his pseudo-Pips – James Massone, Jamar Rogers and, well, the actual Pip – on the appropriately titled “I Want You Back.”
…. I now know which two “Voice” alumni will be putting out CDs I will probably buy the day they come out. Mann chose to bring back Lindsey Pavao and Katrina Parker to sing with him on another appropriately titled tune, “Bittersweet Symphony.” And hearing their very different yet equally compelling voices made it clear that not only should these two fine female vocalists get record deals by this time tomorrow, they have truly settled into their personal styles – Pavao is the ethereal alt-rock singer, Parker the Adele-esque singer who could easily tackle some smoky cocktail jazz if she so chooses.
…I really am old. Maybe it was not having any idea who Flo Rida is. Perhaps it was seeing Justin Beiber perform his song “Boyfriend” and wondering if he has to pay teen idol royalties to David Cassidy and Rick Springfield. Then again, maybe it was my season-long obsession with finding out what “blowing up on Twitter” means exactly and why it is that Christina Milian had to say that every 30 seconds in the Spring Lounge. The again, it’s probably a combination of all this that left me once again feeling like Grandpa when watching the show.
…this show is literally the stuff that dreams are made of. Sure every contestant I’ve talked to on this show has, at one point or another, talked about how it’s a dream come true. Lucca has taken that theory one step farther, however. First, he advised Simms before they went onstage tonight to treat the experience as “a lucid dream where you realize you’re in a dream and the fear goes away. You can steer it and control it, so just do that. And we went okay, this is good. And it worked….till we got onstage and it all fell apart.” And second, he’s starting to see his fellow contestants in his sleep. “A lot of these people have started showing up in my dreams, which is actually cool,” he explained. “Everyone keeps their clothes on so it’s not too weird. At least not yet.”
….I am probably as grateful for my “Voice” experience as each of the singers is for theirs. Seeing as how this is the last graph of the last review, I guess it’s safe to say this now since I won’t have another chance. When I was initially asked to be the “Voice” correspondent for XfinityTV, I wanted to say no. I figured I was past the point in my life where I stayed up till 2 a.m. (if you don’t believe it, check out the post times on these puppies) writing about a reality competition show. Still, circumstances aligned and I decided to give it a go. It’s a decision for which I’ll always commend myself because I’ve developed new respect for this kind of series.
There’s something about getting to know these people – these very real people – that was so fun and refreshing. I have seen their enthusiasm up close, and it got to be pretty infectious. I swear I teared up a little when my daughter’s favorite, Pavao, was eliminated. Likewise, I sense a few sniffles watching each of the finalists do a heartfelt musical tribute to their coaches and then go in for a genuine hug afterward. I couldn’t wait to congratulate Mann and Simms like they were my own kids after watching their knockout performances these past few weeks. So to all the contestants, thanks for renewing my faith in both reality TV and my ability to cover it. “America’s Got Talent,” here I come…..