It’s been a season full of young artists, impressive veteran performers, surprising eliminations, and way too much bickering between the coaches (we’re looking at you, Adam Levine). But in the end, it was teen singer Brynn Cartelli who not only made history as the youngest winner ever on The Voice, but also as the first member of Team Kelly Clarkson to win. Pretty impressive considering this was Clarkson’s first year coaching.
While Blake Shelton’s team members Spensha Baker and Kyla Jade made the top four along with Alicia Keys’ singer Britton Buchanan, it was Brynn who ultimately won Season 14. Waiting until the end of the three-hour finale to announce the standings, Spensha was seen nodding as the names were read, knowing she would finish in fourth place. Someone who wasn’t nodding was Kyla, who landed in third place. HOW. WHAT. HOW. We know it’s *just* a competition, but come on! No one has been more impressive or consistent this season than Kyla. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean you win.
In addition to a recap of the season and performances from Florence and the Machine, Dua Lipa, Big Sean, Halsey, Jason Aldean and more, the extended finale show also featured some familiar faces. Performers from Season 14 returned for group performances, which gave mixed results. Some singers reminded us why they weren’t in the Top 4, while others made us wish the results had been different. Specifically, Christiana Danielle. We would have loved to see her in the finale as a finalist, not just as a returning singer. Still, we took some solace in seeing last year’s coach Jennifer Hudson back on stage. She came in seventh place on American Idol and now has a collection of Grammys, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. So yeah, your career isn’t over if you don’t win a reality singing show.
In addition to the many, many, many big name performers and second-hand embarrassment-inducing sketches with the hosts (three hours is a long time to fill), all four finalists also got to perform with A-listers that were perfect matches. Good job, producers.
SPENSHA BAKER AND KANE BROWN
Blake has been advocating Spensha as the future of country music all season, and in Tuesday’s finale Spensha performed with Kane Brown, who is currently the future of country music. Performing “What Ifs,” Spensha seemed to lose her spot in the song a few times, which could be nerves. She still doesn’t have the power of a Carrie Underwood or the rawness of a Kacey Musgraves, but that doesn’t mean she can’t pave her own lane of new country.
BRYNN CARTELLI AND JULIA MICHAELS
Brynn hit the stage with Julia Michaels, who wrote Brynn’s original song “Walk This Way.” The duet achieved two things, depending on how you look at it. One, it was tough to tell who the pro was on stage, with Brynn looking and sounding cool and confident. Two, it made us wonder whether there was room for Brynn on radio since she and Julia Michaels sound the exact same. Like, exactly.
BRITTON BUCHANAN AND RYAN ADAMS
Britton performed “To Be Without You” with Ryan Adams and sounded like he was singing with his peer. Considering there’s a few decades and a lot of experience separating the two men, it definitely makes Britton look like he’s ready for the big leagues.
KYLA JADE AND JENNIFER HUDSON
Here’s something we could have easily predicated. Kyla Jade and Jennifer Hudson’s duet was the highlight of the night. How Kyla didn’t win is beyond us. That voice. THAT VOICE. THE VOICE. Isn’t that the name of the show? Kyla still has a long career in the music business, whether she pursues a solo career or returns to back-up, but she should have been the winner for Season 14. There. We’ve said it.
In addition to announcing Brynn as this season’s winner, host Carson Daly also confirmed that Kelly Clarkson (yay!) and Jennifer Hudson (yay!) will be returning as Coaches for Season 15. Blake and Adam will also be returning for their 15th seasons and let’s hope that their new contract states that they have to be pleasant towards one another. After 14 seasons, it’s not cute anymore.