It's official: Blake Shelton will not win this season of The Voice. His last man standing, Cole Vosbury, fell shy of making the top three, getting the boot alongside James Wolpert (the first member of Team Adam Levine to go).
Still, Blake went out on a high note, with three out of four of the guest performers being former mentees.
In fact, it was a reunion of sorts, as the top three contestants from last season all returned to perform. Winner Danielle Bradbery, runner-up Michelle Chamuel and third-place duo the Swon Brothers took the stage separately to sing new songs. (Season Three winner Cassadee Pope also appeared.) And it really underscored just how great last season was compared to this season. Could Season Four have been the peak of The Voice?
It also highlighted just how poorly the show has done at launching bona fide stars: Pope is the biggest breakout success so far, but that's not saying much. And Bradbery's debut album sold 41,000 copies in its first week. (Neither the Swons nor Chamuel have yet to make any significant inroads.) Considering American Idol has created mega-stars like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and others, The Voice has a lot of ground to make up.
But chances are it won't be with this season's winner. The top three this time around are Tessanne Chin, Will Champlin and Jacquie Lee, who swooped in at the last second and seemingly stole Cole's place in next week's finals. And sorry, but none of them screams "star."
Of them, Champlin would at least be a departure for the show – there's yet to be a "hipster" or a "rock guy" to come out of it. In fact, no guy has won since Season Two, when Jermaine Paul ('memba him?) walked away the winner. But Will's Achilles' heel could be that he's the son of Chicago band member Bill Champlin, and America often doesn't like to give the win to someone who already has a leg up.
So, there's a good chance that Chin could win (although she's had her own brushes with fame) – but, really, where would she fit into the marketplace? It's already oversaturated with powerhouse female vocalists, especially from reality singing competitions.
Then there's Lee. She's not as good of a singer as Chin, but what she has on her side is youth – and inexperience. Meaning, she has no known connections to the music industry. And America loves to crown fresh-faced singers who "need a break" over their highly trained, perceivably silver-spoon-fed counterparts who might actually deserve it more. (Lee's coronation would also be a first for the show: a winning female coach, just like Aguilera has begged for all season.)
Other things to consider: Shows like this rarely, if ever, give the win to contestants from major cities (Will is from Los Angeles) or other countries (Tessanne is from Jamaica).
So, while odds say Team Adam has a lock on the competition, could new dark horse Jacquie and Team Christina come from behind and steal the crown? And does it really matter in the end?
Previous recap: Tessanne Chin Leaves Adam Levine Speechless