The Voice Season 4 Finale Recap: They're All Stars Tonight [Updated]
If I were back in Catholic grade school, I suspect Sister Mary Rita would’ve kept me after class and sentenced me to a half hour at the chalkboard this afternoon, writing: “It does not matter who wins Season 4 of The Voice. It does not matter who wins Season 4 of The Voice. It does not matter who wins Season 4 of The Voice.”
And Sister Rita, smart cookie that she was, would’ve had a point. After Monday night’s Live Finals, the Top 3 acts — Michelle Chamuel, Danielle Bradbery and The Swon Brothers — all managed to land two songs apiece in the iTunes Top 10 Singles chart. And that’s all the proof that’s needed to know that with a little hard work (and some top-notch material) (and the enthusiastic fiscal support of a major label against the shark-eyed stare of corporate radio) any or all of ‘em has a legit chance to be the first breakout success from NBC’s (still very young) reality singing competition.
[Side note: It's worth noting, as we discuss The Voice's hitmaking potential, that Season 1's relentlessly industrious Vicci Martinez has managed a fairly sizeable hit with her kickin' single, "Come Along." So booyah to that! And yes, I said "booyah," even if I'm not entirely sure why.]
But of course, from a different perspective — the perspective of those of us who’ve invested every Monday and Tuesday (and the occasional Wednesday) night since mid-March obsessing over every last song choice, glory note and lyrical interpretation by the members of Teams Blake, Adam, Usher and Shakira — it actually did matter who won Season 4 of The Voice.
The good news, though, was that no matter your allegiance, the two-hour spectacle that padded what was essentially Carson Daly’s 20-second results announcement proved undeniably, joyously entertaining.
A dozen mostly top-notch performances led into the final results announcement of the season. Shall we cut to the action? Let’s!
Pitbull and Christina Aguilera (featuring a boatload of confetti): “Feel This Moment” | I always like when Xtina gets a little bit rowdy, and while her streetwalker-on-top/secretarial-school-dropout-on-bottom ensemble was a bit of a fright, the hiatus-ing Voice coach brought the hook of Pitbull’s dancey-dancey jam to full-bodied life. Mr. Worldwide, meanwhile, threw his hands in the air, waved ‘em round like he just didn’t care and spat a rhyme or two when the track required. Nice work (and nice duds) if you can get it. Grade: B+ (half-step upgrade for choice use of an A-HA sample)
The Swon Brothers (joined by Amber Carrington, Holly Tucker and Justin Rivers): Lady Antebellum’s “Stars Tonight” | The verses got a little choppy with the five-vocalist split, but the season’s country-leaning standouts didn’t miss a single note among ‘em, and looked like they were genuinely enjoying the jam sesh. Grade: A-
OneRepublic and Michelle Chamuel: “Counting Stars” | I usually like Ryan Tedder better as a producer than as a vocalist, but he threw every bit of himself into this Mumford-pop ditty, and gave the Lady Chamuel multiple opportunties to steal the spotlight with her sparkly red pants and innate ability to get inside a lyric. Grade: A
Florida Georgia Line (featuring Nelly): “Cruise” | My least favorite performance of the night was a little wobbly vocally and a lot hokey in execution. Let’s hope the Swon Brothers can beat FGL on American Ninja Warrior and take their spot at mainstream country radio. Can I get an “Amen”? Grade: C+
Vedo, Garrett Gardner, Josiah Hawley and Kris Thomas: The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” | Methinks this was The Voice producers’ not-so-subtle commentary on the horrors of Lazaro, Devin and Burnell’s catastrophic Motown Night trio on Season 12 of American Idol. And while, yeah, The Voice dudes definitely outdid Mr. Pitchy ForgottenLyrics, I didn’t feel like the actual song suited any of ‘em except for Vedo. Grade: B-
Danielle Bradbery (joined by Amber Carrington, Sarah Simmons and Caroline Glaser): Carrie Underwood’s “All-American Girl” | I loved the genuine camaraderie this quartet displayed while lending their very distinct (yet all extremely powerful) instruments to a honey-sweet Carrie Underwood song. I forgot how much I’d missed Sarah’s banshee rumble. And Amber’s insanely big note on the final “Honey, you oughtta know” sent me into what can only be described as some sort of rapture. Grade: A