And the winner is… Blake Shelton. The country coach has now won three out of four seasons of “The Voice,” with the Season 4 win going to his protégé, 16-year-old Danielle Bradbery.
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It was a win we saw coming for miles, and though Blake may have overblown Danielle’s significance on Monday night’s performance episode (calling her the most important thing in music right now), she is certainly the most likely “Voice” winner to actually go on to career success. She’s young, pretty, vocally proficient and blank as a shaken Etch-a-Sketch. Music industry: do with her what you will.
The results all went down in the last four minutes of the two-hour season finale. The rest of the night, we were privy to a long list of guest performers that started with Christina Aguilera and ended with Cher. The long-awaited “Burlesque” reunion!
We also got several confessionals and other videos, duets for each of the finalists with an actual celebrity (Danielle: Hunter Hayes; Swon Brothers: Bob Seger; Michelle Chamuel: OneRepublic), and group numbers with the members of the Top 16 of each contestants’ choice. For those, Swon Brothers selected castoffs Justin Rivers, Holly Tucker and Amber Carrington to do Lady Antebellum’s “Stars Tonight.” Danielle brought back Amber, Caroline Glaser and Sarah Simmons. And Michelle reunited with the rest of Team Usher: Josiah, Vedo and Cathia. So Amber and Josiah are the most popular kids, and poor Sasha Allen and Judith Hill and others didn’t even get picked to join the dodge ball team.
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It’s ok, though. Every one of the Top 16 got at least one chance to perform, with boy-group and girl-group numbers. They were the most “American Idol”ish moments this show has ever had, as “The Voice” usually shies away from cheesy oldies group performances. But there they were: Garrett Gardner, Josiah, Kris Thomas and Vedo doing “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” And Judith, Karina Iglesias, Sasha and Cathia doing “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”.
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In Christina Milian’s Skybox of Emotions, the show’s “social media correspondent,” which is, sadly, a real job in all variety of media these days, admits that she’s very very sad the show is over. She tells us she’s been with the contestants every step of the way, “on and off screen.” Just what is she doing with them off-screen, I wonder? Because it’s not like she does very much with them on-screen. Her other time moving her mouth and making sounds that might be words, she pushes play on a smartphone to show us the much anticipated audience-submitted coach impressions she’s been talking about for three weeks. All told, they got two submissions for Blake, two for Usher, and one each for Adam Levine and Shakira. So that was a success.
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As usual, videos were a fun time. One is about the former bromance turned hatefest between Blake and Adam, and the triangle with Blake’s new love interest Usher. Another is about Shakira’s use of big words, and how none of the other coaches know how to spell any of those words. A silly video for Blake’s birthday makes him and his two teammates do some good old acting—they show Blake’s unusual (fake) coaching methods a la Usher’s mirror singing and aerobics. That was actually very funny. So why quit there? How about a video of deleted scenes from previous confessionals, lines that were never funny enough to make it in the first place? Exercise some restraint, “The Voice.”
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So, the special guests. We began with Xtina and Pitbull on their dance clubby single, “Feel This Moment.” I’m left wondering: What is wrong with Pitbull, why the aggressive name? In reality, I see he’s just a bald guy in a suit and shades, looking vaguely Eurotrash. Florida Georgia Line and Nelly stop by to sing their happy fun “Cruise.” Bruno Mars did his throwback disco stuff he does so well with “Treasure.” And the best, saved for last, was Cher, who “sang” her new single “Woman’s World” in something like a tricorn hat made of pink feathers. (My mom described it, via text, as “a combination of Sanjaya, Steven Tyler and Tina Turner.”) At the end of Cher’s performance, Carson Daly says, “Happy birthday, Blake.” So Cher was Blake’s birthday present? I wouldn’t have guessed that to be on his wishlist, but it makes me like him so much more.
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Finally, after a video survey of “The Voice” crew toasting with Starbucks cups (Blake’s special latte, I hope for their sake), we get down to results. In third place, Carson announces Swon Brothers. It’s Danielle versus Michelle now, and Carson hardly makes us wait in suspense to say that Blake’s contestant was the winner. Must have run out of time in that tiny little two-hour slot they had. And with that, a teenage dream came true. Oh yeah, and Danielle was pretty happy, too.
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