The day after The Voice premiered, EW's Mandi Bierly declared that a cap-wearing family man named Javier Colon was the competition's early favorite. And she was right: Javier's soulful, surprising rendition of "Time After Time" was the first Voice performance to get all four coaches to turn around during the blind auditions. If I had counted songs sang during the audition rounds, it would have been near the top of my list of Season One's best performances.
As the weeks wore on, though, Javier's frontrunner status began to seem a little less certain. Every time he appeared onstage, he sang melisma-soaked ballad after melisma-soaked ballad while contestants like Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez, and Beverly McClellan delivered inventive, electrifying, unforgettable performances. Javier never sang badly -- but he was a lot more predictable than his cohorts. And when Dia's quirky numbers started lighting up the iTunes charts, it seemed like Team Adam's star was destined to fall short of clinching the title that had once seemed indisputably his.
Or... maybe not. We learned tonight that viewers voted Javier Colon to be The Voice after all -- though he and Dia were neck and neck until the end, and he beat her by a measly two percent. Did he win because because a trio of strong female singers split the vote, or because his crooning is more mainstream than Bev's yelping and Dia's gasping, or because Justin Bieber apparently commanded his army of screaming tweens to vote Team Adam? Maybe. But it's just as likely that Javier emerged victorious because out of all last night's original songs, "Stitch by Stitch" was the only one that sounded even remotely like a current radio hit. 24 hours later, I don't remember the hooks from "Lovesick," "Afraid to Sleep," or "Inventing Shadows," but I can hum the chorus of Javier's single.
So Javier Colon's Voice victory managed to be both unexpected and utterly unsurprising. It was preceded by a results show filled with some of the least inspired singing The Voice has ever seen. Throughout the hour, each finalist performed a duet with an established artist. And while the pairings ran the gamut from conceptually brilliant (the two most important ladies in Blake's life share the stage!) to totally inexplicable (Beverly McClellan, bluesy hardcore rocker, sings with... That Dude From OneRepublic?), the finalists all sounded pretty rough while delivering their swan songs -- with the exception of Javier. Maybe imminent victory is the best thing for soothing spent vocal cords.
After a peek at the "members of the Voice family" -- a.k.a. castoff contestants -- sitting in the audience and a too-long featurette about the Final Four's visit to The Tonight Show, Vicci and
Jack Skellington Pat Monahan did a sort of stirring rendition of America's favorite Train song. No, America's other favorite Train song. No, not "Meet Virginia." I must say that the years have not been kind to "Drops of Jupiter": "She listens like spring and she talks like June"? "Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken"? I feel a little bad criticizing it, knowing that it was apparently inspired by Monahan's late mother, but... seriously?
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