NBC talent competition ‘The Voice’ rounded out its second season last night by crowning Jermaine Paul the champion. His prize is a deal with Universal Records and $100,000. Coach Blake Shelton’s prize was major bragging rights.
Jermaine triumphed over fellow finalists Tony Lucca, Chris Mann and Juliet Simms, but it was a closely fought contest. Only a quarter of one percentage of the vote separated fourth-place finisher Chris, Christina Aguilera’s vocalist, from Adam Levine’s finalist Tony, who took third place. Jermaine edged out runner-up Juliet, who was coached by Cee Lo Green, by only four percent.
“No more background for you!” Carson told Jermaine, who was Alicia Keay’s backup singer before auditioning for ‘The Voice’. Jermaine closed the show with an emotional performance of “I Believe I Can Fly.” He cried his way through it and millions will have cried with him, me included.
But it doesn’t take 2 hours to crown someone a show winner, so the night was padded out by Justin Bieber’s debut TV performance of “Boyfriend,” which was hyped up by host Carson Daly almost as much as the crowning of season two’s champ, but was probably worthy of the praise.
“I had a lot of fun!” Bieber said after the performance. So did I. Also fun was ‘Saturday Night Live’ star Keenan Thompson’s imitation of Cee Lo, whom he called “a pimp baby” and “a villain in a James Bond movie directed by Tyler Perry.”
So what about Jermaine Paul’s journey on the show? He started out in the blind audition singing Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated,’ with power and personality, if somewhat lacking in finesse. Two of the show’s four coaches turned their chairs: Cee-Lo Green and Blake Shelton. After much deliberation, Jermaine chose Blake. It proved a good choice and Jermaine stood out among Blake’s contestants where he may have got lost among the other powerhouse performers Cee Lo picked for his team. Jermaine was already well polished from his days as a backup singer but was, for some reason, considered something of an underdog by many.
I never got that part. I thought he stood out week after week, which made the eventual result something of an anticlimax, but oh so right.
After he was announced as the winner of the second season of “The Voice” last night, Jermaine gave us another rendition of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” which had seemed like a winning performance the night before. Last night, for me, the performance was all the better because it wasn’t note-perfect; it was emotional and he wept openly and embraced his father, and then his wife. It was so sweet how she kissed his head as Jermaine struggled to regain his composure.
So all the finalists were pretty accomplished acts with plenty of polish to their performance. So ‘The Voice’ in its latter stages puts together a package very like its rivals. So the blind auditions only give someone a first chance and then looks come int the equation as they do everywhere else. So what? Wasn’t Jermaine Paul a worthy winner? And won’t we also see more of Jamar Rogers, the season’s shock semi-final elimination?