Jermaine Paul captured the top spot on “The Voice” Tuesday night, becoming the second winner of the show and giving coach Blake Shelton his first win. The announcement wrapped up the show’s second season, reports the Associated Press:
Paul, who was coached by country singer and “Voice” mentor Blake Shelton, was awarded the show’s grand prize of $100,000 and a record deal with Universal after crooning R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” for his final solo performance Monday.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody that supported me from day one,” said Paul through tears.
Juliet Simms, the 26-year-old indie rocker from San Francisco who was coached by Cee Lo Green, came in second place. She was followed by Tony Lucca, the 36-year-old former Mouseketeer from Detroit, who was guided by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Chris Mann, the 30-year-old classical singer from Wichita, Kan., who was shepherded by pop diva Christina Aguilera, rounded out the final four.
The show wrapped after a bit of tension following Monday night’s performance round, during which viewers could sense a passive aggressive tone in Tony Lucca’s episode on the stage, says Emily Yahr of the TV Column:
On Monday’s show, Tony covered Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” with a rocker spin, earning praise from the judges...except Christina, who was not amused. And even though he couldn’t sing the full chorus on broadcast TV— “I’ve got 99 problems, but a [bleep] ain’t one” — she slammed his song choice, calling it “derogatory” towards women, motioning to his wife and daughter in the audience.
Naturally, this led to lots of online speculation about what Tony Lucca and his coach, Adam Levine, really meant by their song choice. Even though Adam claimed the [bleep] in the song was really a metaphor for all problems in life, and not necessarily women. Christina did not look convinced.
The backstory between Aguilera and Lucca started on the season premiere, which aired after the Super Bowl, Yahr says:
But for the last singer of the night, we’ve got Tony Lucca, 35, a former Mickey Mouse Club member who performed with Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina herself.
On stage, Tony croons a smooth rendition of Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble,” and all four judges spin around to watch the performance (well, more accurately, Adam makes Cee Lo turn around). Christina has no memory of this man from her Mousketeer past, though she’s as complimentary as the rest of the judges.
Adam pleads with Tony to choose him (since he currently has zero singers on his team) and indeed, Tony chooses...Adam! Backstage, Christina magically remembers that she knows Tony, and goes to find him. “I didn’t even recognize..how are you?! No hard feelings...” Christina trails off in that way that gives us the impression she still has no idea who he is. Still, she throws in that Britney (yes, that Britney) used to have a crush on him on their Mouseketeer days.
After the first five weeks of competition, the blind auditions end and the battle rounds, where team members are pitted against each other by their coaches, begin. Lucca, RaeLynn, Chris Mann and Cheesa make it through, Yahr reports:
Tony starts things off on the reserved side, but Chris (Cauley) immediately one-ups him by belting the second line. Plus, at first, Chris gets all the lyrics while Tony is relegated to singing the “aaayyys” in the chorus, and it looks like he might never recover. Tony starts to gain steam later in the song and belts out a few impressive notes.
Judges: Christina takes the opportunity to remind us all that she was in the Mickey Mouse club “with Justin and Britney” (no last names required). “Any more names you wanna drop?” Blake asks. Blake says he expected Tony to dominate the stage, but that Chris was more consistent, vocally. Christina admits she’s pulling for her good friend Tony, but that Chris surprised her — still, she goes with Tony. Cee Lo also prefers Tony.
But it’s Adam’s vote that counts, and he goes with ... Tony!
Jordis Unga, Jesse Campbell also make it through. In the second night of battle rounds, Sera Hill and Lindsey Pavao of Aguilera’s team, Charlotte Sometimes from Shelton’s team, Juliet Simms and Jamar Rogers from Cee Lo Green’s team and Kim Yarborough from Adam Levine’s group make it to the next competition.
More recaps and coverage of ‘The Voice’: