By Merissa Marr
Jamaican singer Tessanne Chin won Season 5 of “The Voice” on Tuesday, beating out fellow team member Will Champlin and Christina Aguilera’s 16-year-old protégé, Jacquie Lee.
Concluding 13 weeks of hard-fought competition, Tessanne scored a second win for her coach Adam Levine after a run of flawless performances — from “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Redemption Song” to her final solo performance on Monday of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”
Just last week, the competition was an open race, with no clear winner in sight. But after Monday’s final performances, all signs pointed to Tessanne. Of the three songs the finalists performed on Monday, Tessanne’s “I Have Nothing” topped the iTunes singles charts overnight, while “Let It Be,” her duet with her coach, hovered at number three.
Will Champlin’s solo and duet performances also made it into the top 10 on iTunes overnight but that wasn’t enough to secure him runner-up status: that went to Jacquie Lee, with Will taking third place in the competition.
The winning ticket was about more than who scored the most votes this week. All iTunes sales during the six weeks of live performances were taken into consideration. Performances that ended up in the top 10 on the iTunes singles chart earned an extra bonus, multiplying the iTunes votes for that song by five. On that basis, Tessanne wasn’t a clear winner heading into this week: she and Jacquie had one top 10 song each while Will Champlin had two. But by Tuesday, Tessanne had landed two number one hits.
A native of Jamaica, Tessanne had been a clear favorite of her coach, Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine. A former backup singer for reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, Tessanne is already a success in her home country, where her rise on “The Voice” has made her a national hero. But she said she hoped “The Voice” would help her crack overseas.
Seemingly eager not to split the vote between his two finalists, Adam was already setting Will up as his runner-up on Monday’s show. A dark horse who bounced back several times during the competition, Will has been a surprisingly consistent performer but not an obvious finalist in the way Tessanne was.
Tessanne’s win crushed Christina Aguilera’s bid to be the first female coach to win “The Voice.” She had pulled out all the stops for her finalist but ultimately Jacquie’s youth and inexperience toppled her as her lack of vocal control became obvious.
Christina will have to wait some time before having another shot at the crown. “The Voice” returns in February for Season 6, with Usher and Shakira taking up residence alongside Adam and Blake Shelton, while Christina and CeeLo take another break for a season.
With voting over, Tuesday’s final showcased a string of chart-topping artists, including Lady Gaga, OneRepublic, Ne-Yo and Celine Dion, leaving little doubt about the powerhouse “The Voice” has become as a promotional vehicle in the music industry.
The three finalists also performed several times with former Season 5 contestants. Jacquie picked Matthew Schuler, Caroline Pennell, Cole Vosbury and James Wolpert for a thoroughly entertaining bring-back performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It reminded me why I love Matthew Schuler and James Wolpert – I would’ve been in heaven to see both of them in the final alongside Tessanne.
Matthew Schuler also joined Preston Pohl, Ray Boudreaux, Nic Hawk and Josh Logan for a fun performance of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure.”
For his bring-back performance, Will picked Cole, Jonny Gray, Caroline Pennell and Austin Jenckes for “Wagon Wheel.” And Tessanne brought back James Wolpert, Preston Pohl, Olivia Henken and Grey to perform “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” James and Preston sparkled.
Each of the finalists also took the stage with big name acts. Tessanne performed Celine Dion’s “Love Can Move Mountains” — with Celine Dion. Jacquie performed “Ain’t It Fun” with Paramore. And Will teamed up with Aloe Blacc to sing “Wake Me Up.”
In the final minutes after her crowing, Tessanne closed out the show performing a song OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder wrote for the winner.
So what does Tessanne get for the harrowing endurance test she’s just been through? A recording contract. Plain and simple. Oh, and a car from the show’s sponsor Kia (all three finalists got one during the final).