Season 17 of The Voice crowned its winner on Tuesday night with country singer Jake Hoot. The 31-year-old single dad was the surprise winner, with Jake earning his spot on the show with only a single chair turn from coach Kelly Clarkson. Jake was a consistent performer throughout Season 17, quickly becoming the only country artist in the competition, which this year saw all four coaches — Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and John Legend — with singers in the final four.
Tuesday’s finale had the staging and line-up of a top awards show, with performances from Dua Lipa, the Black Eyed Peas featuring J. Balvin, Lady Antebellum, and Luke Combs. Former Voice coach Jennifer Hudson returned to give a masterclass in performance with her breathtaking rendition of “Memory” from Cats, which Hudson stars in alongside Taylor Swift, James Corden, Judi Dench and Idris Elba.
Season 16 winner Maelyn Jarmon also returned to perform “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” as did Season 17 contestants Shane Q, Max Boyle, Myracle Holloway, Hello Sunday, Kat Hammock, Cali Wilson, Will Breman, Joana Martinez, Alex Guthrie, Gracee Shriver and Marybeth Byrd. The singers were put into groups of four and took the stage for high energy group performances, giving viewers the chance to pretend their faves had made it to their finale even if they didn’t.
As for the final four, the biggest surprise was Katie Kadan not making it to the final two. Rose Short was announced as the fourth-place winner and while she had the talent to win, Rose’s position in the sudden elimination spot during last week’s semifinals signaled that she didn’t have the fan base to go all the way. Jake Hoot’s win doesn’t come as a total shock since the country singer has consistently been the most streamed artist this season, a nod not only to Jake’s powerful vocals, but also to the commitment of country fans.
All four singers had the chance to perform with an A-lister during Tuesday night’s finale. Katie took the stage with Adam Lambert for a performance that acted as a reminder that you don’t have to win a singing competition to have a great career (cough*American Idol*cough). Also see Jennifer Hudson above. The pair turned Cher’s club hit “Believe” into an emotional ballad, with Katie’s deep and rich lows a perfect match for a Cher song. And Adam Lambert can literally sing anything.
Rose performed with Tony and Grammy-winning Gospel singer Yolanda Adams, who is not only an incredible singer but also a stellar hype woman. The pair sang the heck out of “In The Midst of it All” and hit every note. Ever created. All the notes. Rose’s future in music is already bright, but in addition to pop, country, soul, and R&B, she can also add gospel and Broadway to her list of genres to conquer.
Most singers show all their cards throughout the season, but Ricky saved his stunning falsetto for the finale, which may have hurt his chances at winning. The rock singer has been hiding a beautiful high range that is reminiscent of Justin Timberlake and Childish Gambino and his performance with Gary Clark Jr. was one of the coolest moments in Voice history. Hearing an original album from Ricky was already an exciting prospect, but after the Austin singer performed his original song “A Woman Like Her” on Monday and revealed the full extent of his range on Tuesday, the anticipation for Ricky’s original music is now palpable.
As for winner Jake Hoot, he performed with Little Big Town, who continue to be one of the coolest bands in country. Little Big Town are so cool that they even got Jake Hoot to loosen up a bit in the second half of the performance, with the notoriously reserved singer showing a bit of personality and getting into the groove of the breakup track. Time to put “Over Drinking” on repeat.
Season 18 of The Voice returns on Monday, February 24 with coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and new coach Nick Jonas.