The other? Tessanne Chin wins it all.
The only thing that’s probably a lock at this point: The winner won’t be Will Champlin. (Sorry, buddy.) Double-header coach Adam Levine had to pick someone to throw under the bus, and he went all in on Chin.
During the final performances leading up to the Season Five coronation, each of the remaining contestants sang three songs – a repeat of their blind audition, a duet with their coach and a tune they thought proved they were the winner. (Sitting on the sidelines with nothing to do most of the night were ousted coaches Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green.)
In terms of their last song: Tessanne sang Whitney Houston‘s “I Have Nothing” – something her voice has been begging for all season. Jacquie performed a literal showstopper with Jennifer Hudson’s version of “And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls, which earned her the vote-stealing pimp spot. And poor Will got sandwiched in between them singing an uncharacteristic (read: lackluster) rendition of Bryan Adams’ chart-topping 1991 hit “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You.”
Will tried to save himself by singing to his wife and baby, kissing both of them at the end, but it was too little too late. “I kind of consider this a victory for you, [making it to] the last show of the season,” said coach Adam, clearly sounding the death knell for Champlin in the same manner he tolled the bell for James Wolpert last week. “You’ve won already, so I couldn’t care less about the outcome.” In other words: Enjoy third place.
Aside from poor song selection and a lack of support from his own coach, the other thing that probably did Will in was that – after weeks of glossing over it – viewers were reminded several times of the fact that he’s the son of musician Bill Champlin from the band Chicago. The show had worked hard to squelch that storyline for so long, the only reason to bring it up now is to purposefully pull the rug out from under Will.
That’s not to say he won’t go out on a high note: His blind audition repeat of Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You” showed just how far he’d come while his understated duet with Adam on Elton John‘s “Tiny Dancer” might have been the best of the night. And it’s not totally implausible for him to pull off the win – never underestimate the power and appeal of the White Guy With Guitar (see seasons seven through 11 of American Idol). But chances are he’s been relegated to third wheel.
The winner showdown will almost certainly come down to Tessanne and Jacquie.
Tessanne hit a homerun with “I Have Nothing” – it was powerful, emotional and had a lot of subtle razzle-dazzle that hypnotizes viewers into voting. (How about that curtain that dramatically dropped then magically got sucked into thin air?) But while it was perfectly pitched, it didn’t offer much more than paying homage to the late Houston, which Adam addressed: “It’s sacred ground, so it’s something people stay away from. It’s impossible to replicate. But every single time . . . I’m so blown away, I know you are the winner.
She also did a solid rendition of the Beatles‘ beloved “Let It Be” alongside Levine – complete with a reggae breakdown, natch, because she is, of course, “Tessanne from Jamaica,” as they always remind us.
Perhaps her biggest drawback of the night was her take on Pink‘s “Try,” which earned her a four-chair turn during the blind auditions. It was good, but it showed that she hasn’t experienced much growth – she came in a good singer and performer and she leaves a good singer and performer.
And this is why Jacquie could come from behind to steal the crown from Tessanne and Team Adam, among other reasons. The meek little girl with the big booming voice has blossomed into a fierce performer with even fiercer vocals, underscored by her commanding return to blind audition song “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse. This is how the show wants us to perceive her, at least.
But we can’t help but see Jacquie as a 16-year-old playing dress up and pretending to be a star. Her melodramatic stomping, hair-flipping and kneeling just seems forced, especially when she’s singing songs way beyond her years and dressing like a 25-year-old. She especially seemed in over her head while singing with coach Christina Aguilera on “We Remain” from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. (Way to upstage your own contestant, Xtina.)
Her big moments on “And I Am Telling You” were overshadowed by the fact she didn’t quite have a grasp on walking in high heels or dealing with the extra-long extensions that kept attacking her face. And while she definitely hit some good notes, there were also a few bum ones too. It was pretty on par with what she’s done all season.
However, she got the biggest pimp spot of them all: the very last performance of the entire season, which means they’re setting her up for the win or at least trying to make it seem like she has a shot. So while it might be assumed that Tessanne has the season on lock, don’t sell short the allure of the pimp spot or that America loves to throw the win to someone they see as an underdog.
Now just one question remains: Who will be the next winner of The Voice?
Previous recap: Blake Shelton Goes Out on High Note