“When the baton is passed post-‘Voice,’ there’s some problems. People take over after we do this great job of building these people up on the show. There’s some real issues there,” Levine fumed to Howard Stern, adding, “The rollout of all that is still such a mess.”
Levine clarified that he and his fellow coaches, along with NBC, make a real effort to help their contestants prepare for a real-world singing career. But when the season ends, there’s only so much they can do. “We do so much great s— for these singers, and then they go to a record label that I won’t mention. But they go to a record label that f—s it up,” Levine said.
As of now, Smith is clearly primed for stardom. His songs landed in the iTunes Top 10 every single week of the live show; the first time that has ever happened for a contestant. Smith’s performances included Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”; Beyonce’s “Halo”; and the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Most famously, during a recent episode, Smith’s cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” knocked Adele’s smash “Hello” out of the top spot on the iTunes charts.
The judges were obsessed with him from the start: All four spun around in their chairs during Smith’s blind audition (he sang Sia’s “Chandelier”) and were stunned by his voice. In a Slate article that detailed how Smith — a student at an evangelical Christian college in Tennessee — appealed to religious viewers, writer Suzannah Showler noted he was dubbed “the unicorn.” “Genderless and expansive, this voice is as ambiguous as it is precise, quickly scaling and spelunking through octaves, never anything but perfectly on pitch,” she wrote.
As for the other finalists, country singers Emily Ann Roberts, 16, and Barrett Baber, 35, finished in second and third place respectively; pop artist Jeffery Austin, 24, came in fourth.