In the cold open of The Voice premiere, brand-new coach Kelly Clarkson declared that she would win the show this year. And whaddya know … three months later, Kelly actually pulled it off, when her contestant Brynn Cartelli won Season 14 of The Voice.
This historic victory makes Kelly the only replacement coach to win in a first attempt. Usher, Pharrell Williams, and Alicia Keys all won in their second season, while Shakira, Gwen Stefani, Miley Cyrus, and Jennifer Hudson have never won. Even two of the original coaches didn’t have Kelly’s sort of track record: CeeLo Green lost during his four seasons, and it took Christina Aguilera six tries before she triumphed in her final season (with Alisan Porter, in 2016).
Brynn’s victory was notable in another major way. Having just turned 15 (she was only 14 at the time of her audition), she is the youngest champion in Voice history, breaking the record previously held by Season 4’s Danielle Bradbery.
Team Blake was represented in Season 14 finals by two singers, Kyla Jade (a former backup singer for on/off Voice coach Jennifer Hudson) and country crooner Spensha Baker, who placed third and fourth, respectively. Team Alicia’s Britton Buchanan placed second. Adam Levine sat this finale out.
Other highlights of Tuesday’s finale included last season’s champ, Chloe Kohanski, debuting her stomping (and very commercial!) new pop-rock single “Come This Far”; Britton dueting with Americana icon Ryan Adams on “To Be Without You” and bringing back Christiana Danielle, Wilkes, Mia Boostrom, and Jackie Foster for “In the Air Tonight”; Brynn holding her own like a true pop star in a vibrant duet performance with Julia Michaels; and Kyla reuniting with her former boss J.Hud on “I Know Where I’ve Been” and bringing back ex-contestants Johnny Bliss, Rayshun LaMarr, and Sharane Calister for “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”
It remains to be seen if Brynn can have a career after The Voice, since the show has long been under fire for its shoddy track record with winners. But she was arguably the most marketable and radio-ready contestant of this entire season, and despite her tender age, she seems to have the maturity, poise, and old soul to advance to the big leagues — providing she has some fantastic (read: Clarkson-level) pop material to work with in the studio. And Kelly has vowed to help her young protégé as much as she can.
So watch this space, and let’s hope when Kelly returns to coach in Season 15, she will do for Brynn what Blake Shelton did for his Season 13 winner, the above-mentioned Chloe, by inviting Brynn back for next season’s finale to perform an original song.
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