It's official: The Voice should change its name to The Blake Shelton Show.
Yes, America has spoken, and we live in a land where country is king. Or, actually, in this case, queen. (At the very least, a pretty, pretty prom queen.) No, we're not still talking about Blake, sillies.
During last night's finale, The Voice may have finally churned out its first bona fide star, as 16-year-old radio-ready country cutie-pie Danielle Bradbery won the Season Four crown.
The news must have been the best gift ever for proud papa – er, we mean coach – Blake, who celebrated his 37th birthday by winning a three-peat. (We assume he also celebrated with a nice sippy cup full of that special concoction that makes his eyes extra-glassy and bloodshot.)
While we had been holding out hope that geek-chic indie rocker Michelle Chamuel would pull off an upset, we always knew deep down that Danielle's coronation was inevitable. And indeed, Michelle had to settle for runner-up, while the Swon Brothers came in third.
But the show kept us on our toes in a race that was probably a lock weeks ago. Twice, Danielle was usurped during the live shows on the iTunes songs chart – once by Michelle and once by the Swons. But what we learned from the voting transparency on Season Two of The X Factor, which crowned country boy Tate Stevens the winner, is that someone usually comes out of the gate with a solid lead and firmly stands their ground. (At least that show's good for something, right?) Still, we'd like to think it was anyone's game.
But we digress, so let's get back to talking about Danielle, who was so pitch-perfect pretty much the entire season that we sometimes wondered if she was a real-life Small Wonder-like robot. (Seriously, this is what keeps us up at night.)
Not only was she clearly a fan favorite, but she obviously had producers' eyes dancing with dollar signs, as they frequently shined an alluring spotlight on her and gave her the coveted vote-grabbing pimp spot on more than one occasion (including the final performance show Monday). They obviously saw their chance to create a Taylor Swift-meets-Carrie Underwood-like success story that would stop people from asking, "Why hasn't the show produced any mainstream stars?"
That said, we're not belittling her talent at all – the girl's definitely got vocal chops. She was consistently good, a virtually unstoppable presence on the iTunes chart week after week, and she has a girl-next-door-meets-homecoming-queen charm that both mainstream and country audiences find endearing. She took songs well beyond her years (circa – gasp – 1991 and earlier) and nailed them, from Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis" to the Judds' "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ol' Days)."
While Danielle's win was the main attraction of the two-hour finale, there's no way we can avoid talking about the sideshow circus that was Cher's comeback performance.
After a 10-year hiatus from performing on TV, she stepped onto The Voice stage to sing new single "Woman's World" in a get-up that has to be seen to be believed. Really, words can't do it justice. (However, the priceless look on Usher's face at the 1:25 mark can.)
Wearing a three-tiered wig topped with a fuchsia fauxhawk, the 67-year-old shuffled onstage amid flashing strobe lights looking like Ozzy Osbourne from the neck down, stiffly trying to keep up with the scantily-clad backup dancers surrounding her. All we could think was: Who would let their grandmother do this?
Dressed in a mish-mash of black – including a midriff-bearing mesh top, a studded leather jacket, some sort of pant-skirt combo and combat boots – she seemingly lip-synced her way through the song. At first, we thought it was some sort of joke, but sadly it wasn't. We basically got a three-minute glimpse into what Madonna's life will be like in 13 years if she doesn't make peace with the fact that she's aging. Word to the wise: You can't turn back time, but you can go out with dignity.
The fluffed up finale was jam-packed with plenty of other, less traumatizing performances, including a stellar rendition of "Treasure" by Bruno Mars, along with Pitbull and Christina Aguilera, Florida Georgia Line and Nelly, OneRepublic with Michelle, Bob Seger with the Swons and Hunter Hayes with Danielle. Plus, some eliminated contestants returned, including Judith Hill, Holly Tucker, Amber Carrington, Sasha Allen, Josiah Hawley, Kris Thomas and Vedo.
Now it's time to sit back and wait and see if Danielle turns into the superstar everyone expects her to be. Until then, tell us: Did America get it right?
Previously: Danielle Bradbery Takes the Lead