The Live Finale
After weeks of struggle, rehearsal, performing, battling and battling again for America's votes, it has all come down to a single night. Tonight, Jake Worthington, Christina Grimmie and Josh Kaufman stand above the original field of 48, the three sole survivors of a musical gauntlet. Tonight is their night - and a host of friends and A-list guests are on hand to help celebrate the crowning of this season's Voice. The votes are counted; the confetti canons loaded, and the stage is set. Here's what happened in tonight's Voice finale.
Season 5 Voice advisor Ryan Tedder leads his band OneRepublic onto the stage to sing a new single, "Love Runs Out" to kick off the performances. It's a rollicking performance that has Ryan hopping around the stage, and the crowd hopping with him, getting everyone's energy up for the night ahead.
After a commercial, host Carson Daly chats with the coaches, getting their thoughts on the final contestants. Blake Shelton talks about how much he and Adam Levine will miss Shakira and Usher when Season 7 of The Voice kicks off with two new coaches in their chairs. The four coaches come together for a group hug. Awwwww.
It's time for Jake Worthington's Bring Back song, reuniting artists eliminated earlier in the season for a group performance. Jake has asked Audra McLaughlin, Kat Perkins, Kristen Merlin, Ryan Whyte Maloney and Morgan Wallen to join him in singing Kenny Chesney's "Summertime." Did someone dig up some palm trees outside the soundstage and plant them on the set? Either way, the Voice stage has a nice summery feel.
Next up, Christina Grimmie gets a duet with British singer Ed Sheeran, singing his tune "All of the Stars." It's a sweet, melodic acoustic performance, the most stripped-down number we'll see tonight. The two singers harmonize beautifully.
Next it's the "boy band" - eliminated artists Jake Barker, Delvin Choice, Stevie Jo, Patrick Thomson and Morgan Wallen putting a little soul in the Hall & Oates classic "She's Gone." Well done, boy band.
Next, we get to know Usher with a funny video short, "Lifestyles of Usher Raymond IV," narrated by the great Robin Leach. Did you know that Usher loves raw cabbage and cheese? Now you do!
Country star Justin Moore, freshly minted as the New Artist of the Year for 2014 by the Academy of Country Music, sings his song "Lettin' the Night Roll." The crowd eats it up, giving the young guy a well-deserved ovation.
It's time for Josh Kaufman's Bring Back performance. Along with Stevie Jo, he's asked Sisaundra Lewis and T.J. Wilkins to join him in singing "Am I Wrong" by Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz. It's a soulful number that hit big in Europe and is now climbing the charts in the U.S. We don't usually think of Norway as being a hotbed of soul singers, but perhaps now we will.
Ed Sheeran is back, this time solo, to perform his just-released "Sing." It's a lively pop-infused R&B number, a distinct departure for Sheeran. Backed by his band and flanked by dozens of flashing screens on broken television sets, he delivers his second great performance of the night.
After a quick chat in the Sprint Skybox with artists, Jake takes the stage with legendary country band Alabama to sing their classic hit, "Mountain Music." Could there be anything better for a teenaged country boy than getting to sing with Alabama? Maybe winning The Voice. Maybe.
Then it's time for the girls' supergroup. Former artists Dani Moz, Deja Hall, Madilyn Paige, Melissa Jimenez and Tess Boyer get the audience rocking with Rihanna's "Umbrella," harmonizing that famous "Ella... ella... ella" perfectly as the crowd reaches for them. We agree, audience - they are that good.
One last video confessional for Jake, Josh and Christina. On a darkened soundstage, they talk about what the experience of The Voice has meant. Suddenly the lights behind them come up. It seems the stage has been turned into an all-Kia automobile showroom, and Carson Daly is there to give each of them the car of their choice. It takes a minute for them to recover from the surprise and about another minute to pick out the vehicles they want. Except for Josh, who calls his wife to ask which one she wants. Again, awwww.
We see a short package poking fun at Adam about all the superlatives he's laid on artists and songs over the season. Then it's back to Josh Kaufman with one last performance. He teams up with Robin Thicke on his latest, "Get Her Back." The two soul singers sound good together. Sing it, fellas!
Country star Tim McGraw is up next with his new single, "City Lights." He's had 25 No. 1 singles in his career, no big deal. If the crowd reaction is any indicator, "City Lights" could be the 26th. Not bad, Mr. Faith Hill.
One more Bring Back performance, this time for Christina Grimmie. She's brought back her best friends Tess Boyer and Bria Kelly, along with her "big brother" on the show, Jake Barker, to sing Lorde's "Team." Very apropos!
Next we get a look back at Jake Worthington. He's developed a brotherly relationship with his coach, Blake Shelton, and for a few minutes, we see the two tease, spar and fall all over each other like a couple of puppies. It might be the cutest reality package in the history of The Voice.
One more performance before we learn the winner. But first, Season 6 advisor Chris Martin is here with his band, a little quartet called Coldplay, to sing their new single, "A Sky Full of Stars." It's a new sound for the band - an electronic-sounding dance tune that has the crowd on its feet. It's a great way to close out the performances for the season.
Finally, the moment of truth arrives. The three finalists line up onstage for the last time. Carson prepares to read the name of the third-place finisher as the coaches nervously study their artists. The tension builds; the crowd shouts out the names of its favorites; and then Carson finally reads the name of... Christina Grimmie. The tiny diva hugs Josh and Jake, leaving the two of them alone to find out their fate.
Again, the music builds. Blake clenches his hands together, leg jiggling. Usher, of course, is totally cool, leaning back in his chair, leg up. Josh and Jake have their arms around each other as Carson reads the name, and... Josh Kaufman is The Voice of Season 6! The soul singer nearly falls down as Jake yells excitedly in his face and the other coaches rush to congratulate Usher. Confetti falls as Josh's family rushes the stage to get in a few hugs.
And that's a wrap. See you in the fall for Season 7!