Tuesday’s The Voice Season 10 finale was all about girl power. Not only did Alisan Porter prevail – making her the first female contestant to win since Season 5’s Tessanne Chin in 2013 – but this was a victory for Alisan’s coach, Christina Aguilera, as well. No female coach – not Shakira, not Gwen Stefani, and not even Christina, a six-season veteran of the show – had ever won The Voice before.
(Alisan Porter with coach Christina Aguilera. Photo: NBC)
Christina was thrilled, of course, but really, this was Alisan’s night. Alisan could not stop screaming upon hearing the news, and she broke down in sobs during her victory performance of her new single “Down That Road,” which she adorably sang while cradling her toddler child in her arms. The 34-year-old has been in showbiz since she was a toddler herself – becoming the youngest Star Search winner ever in 1987, at age 5; taking on the titular role in John Hughes’s 1991 movie Curly Sue at age 10; starring in the Broadway production of Footloose at age 18; and performing in various rock bands in her twenties. But after battling alcoholism (she got sober in 2007) and taking time off to focus on raising her two kids, her dream of superstardom seemed indefinitely deferred – until now.
It remains to be seen if Alisan’s Voice victory will change the course of her career, considering that most of the show’s winners have not become household names. But with her immense talent – and in light of the recent chart success of last season’s winner, Jordan Smith – it’s very possible that this will be just the boost that Alisan needs and has long deserved.
Team Blake’s jazz-trained Nashville troubadour Adam Wakefield, Team Pharrell’s preschool teacher/diva Hannah Huston, and Team Adam’s blues journeyman Laith Al-Saadi placed second, third, and fourth, respectively.
Other highlights of Tuesday’s two-hour finale included Laith Al-Saadi jamming with Eagles legend Joe Walsh on “Rocky Mountain Way”; Adam Wakefield and Alison Krauss teaming for an exquisite performance of Little Feat’s “Willin’”; Alisan Porter bringing back Paxton Ingram and her robbed Team Xtina mates Ryan Quinn and Kata Hay for a fierce take on Heart’s “Straight On”; Alisan singing “Unlove You” with Jennifer Nettles; and Hannah Huston doing Adele’s “When We Were Young” with powerhouse contestants Bryan Bautista, Brian Nhira, and Caity Peters.
A lowlight – besides a bunch of filler skits – was poor Hannah Huston being forced to sing a bizarre mariachi arrangement of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” with disgraced former coach CeeLo Green. Also disappointing: the absence of top 12 contestant Owen Danoff, who was supposed to join Laith, Shalyah Fearing, and Katie Basden for a cover of “Georgia on My Mind,” but had to bow out at the last minute due to illness. (Another seeming no-show: The Voice’s hairdresser, since poor Mary Sarah was somehow allowed to go onstage with a headful of static, giving new meaning to the term “electric performance.”) A much-hyped duet between coach Christina Aguilera and a Whitney Houston hologram was scrapped by Houston’s estate; a living, flesh-and-blood pop diva, Ariana Grande, capably dueted with Christina instead.
The girl-power theme will continue on The Voice’s next season, this fall, when new coaches Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys join Blake Shelton and Adam Levine in the cast. It will be the first time that there will two female coaches on the show’s panel.