Season 9 of NBC’s The Voice came to a close Tuesday night as pop-gospel singer Jordan Smith was crowned champion, giving coach Adam Levine his third victory. But country music fans were also winners throughout the night as Sam Hunt, Ricky Skaggs and Wynonna all performed during the two-hour live episode.
Sam Hunt was the only one of the three to get a solo spot, performing his dramatic, gold-certified single “Break Up in a Small Town” while flames (both real and screen-projected) roared behind him.
Contestant Emily Ann Roberts played mandolin and sang harmony with Ricky Skaggs on the country-bluegrass legend’s Eighties hit “Country Boy.” As she sang the second verse — which includes the line “I’d rather be a hog caller” — and changed the song’s title line to “country girl,” her coach Blake Shelton beamed with pride. Roberts went on to be the show’s runner-up. Shelton’s last win was a year ago in Season 7 when Craig Wayne Boyd took the top spot.
Fellow Team Blake member Barrett Baber finished third in the competition and joined superstar Wynonna during the finale. The pair growled their way through Wy’s 1992 solo smash “No One Else on Earth.” The vibe for their collaboration was a bit looser than the previous performance with Shelton’s head bob appearing ever-so-slightly more pronounced. Baber also brought back Team Blake’s Zach Seabaugh, with the two of them performing the Randy Travis classic “Forever and Ever, Amen.”
Jeffery Austin, the last of the top four contestants and a member of Gwen Stefani’s team, performed “Hollow” with Tori Kelly and sang the Amy Winehouse tune “Tears Dry on Their Own” with fellow contestant Madi Davis. Usher joined eventual winner Smith for “Without You” and other performances on the finale included Coldplay, Voice coach Pharrell (who was shut out of the top four) with Missy Elliott, the Weeknd and Justin Bieber.
Smith closed out the show with a performance of the inspirational “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” from The Sound of Music. Season 10 of The Voice begins in February 2016.