‘The Voice’: Sundance Head Wins, Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars & Kelly Clarkson Perform
‘Tis the season for a star power-packed finale! As The Voice built up suspense during the two-hour season finale (three, if you mistakenly took a wander down Monday night performance recap memory lane), they brought out the big guns of guest performers. While Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton took a pass on performing during the finale — except for “acting” in pre-packaged bits, that is — everyone from KISS to Ariana Grande made appearances (sadly, not together).
The Voice hasn’t forgotten about Billy Gilman, Wé McDonald, Sundance Head and Josh Gallagher (yet): All four performed alongside the guest stars and brought back some of their eliminated besties to become footnotes to this music extravaganza. Let’s knock those requisite “Bring Back” performances out first:
Josh grabbed fellow bros Austin Allsup (of Team Blake) and Brendan Fletcher (of Team Adam) to perform Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” in front of a flame projection. “It’s just a good party song, really,” Josh explains — because we all thought there was a super deep story behind this choice.
Not one to phone it in, Billy Gilman chose Ike and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” for his bring back performance, and stocked it with powerhouses Christian Cuevas, Ali Caldwell, Courtney Harrell and Sa’Rayah. Christian and Billy faded into the background as the ladies took their opportunity to go out in a golden glitter bomb of a swan song.
Wé brought back Team Miley’s Aaron Gibson and Darby Walker and Team Adam’s Brendan Fletcher to perform Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown.” The motley crew worked together well, and Aaron Gibson’s unique raspy voice was the standout in this performance.
Sundance Head brought back former teammates Austin Allsup and Courtney Harrell to perform Cole Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey.” Thanks mostly to Courtney’s powerhouse vocals, the group elevated the song past closing time karaoke status and into the best bring back of the night (which mattered not as voting was over, but good on you anyway, kids!).
Participation trophies for everyone…but let’s get to the real stars.
Up first were Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande, who together performed their Golden Globe-nominated single “Faith” from the animated movie Sing. Scenes from the film served as the backdrop to the catchy performance (why, yes, Sing will be released by the NBC Universal family…why do you ask?), and Top 12 contestants Sundance, Wé, Josh, Billy, Darby, Aaron, Austin, Courtney, Ali, Christian, Sa’Rayah, and Brendan provided minimal backup support.
John Legend stopped by to perform “Love Me Now” off new album Darkness And Light with Wé McDonald. Wé was a little shaky throughout, but it’s gotta throw anyone off their game to get an up close and personal serenade from the romantic crooner.
Passing on contestant backup was Sting, who sang “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You” from 57th And 9th. The 65-year-old singer has still got it, and performed the guitar-driven rock song with the subtle intensity that is to be expected of someone who practices tantric meditation.
Country artist Cam belted out her single “Burning House” with Josh Gallagher. It was a strong moment for the finalist, who incidentally made it through the entire season wearing the same black baseball cap for each and every performance.
The Weeknd also nixed contestant backup — or any backup really — when he sang “Starboy” sans Daft Punk. For such a top tier pop song, there was nothing all that memorable about the bland performance.
It went next level when KISS took the stage with Sundance Head. The rockers and the contestant performed a medley of “Detroit Rock City” and “I Want to Rock And Roll All Nite,” which got Miley and Alicia up out of their seats sporting full Gene Simmons tongue. Although it felt like a real missed opportunity that there was zero face paint on Sundance, it’s an undeniably fun performance.
Kelly Clarkson graced the stage with a performance of “It’s Quiet Uptown” from the Hamilton Mixtape, accompanied by Billy Gilman. It’s rare that a reality contestant holds a candle to the queen of all reality contestants, but Billy managed to shine, and the duo were absolutely stunning.
Moments before the results were announced, Bruno Mars sang “24K Magic” — perhaps as a last ditch effort at feel-good fun before three hearts were broken. The wardrobe matched the ’80s R&B throwback vibe, because why not ride that nostalgia wave for eternity? One thing is for certain, though: if The Voice ever brings on a choreography mentor, it should be Bruno Mars.
Feel-good fun time over: on to the results. Carson Daly, tell us who the winners aren’t…
Fourth place: Josh Gallagher We all saw that coming, right? Adam will have to bring his dream of winning with a country singer into Season 12.
Third Place: Wé McDonald Way to rain on Wé’s parade, Carson. As an early favorite, it was a bit disappointing that Team Alicia’s wunderkind barely made the podium, but still an impressive finish for a high school junior.
Second Place: Billy Gilman Despite some transcendent moments, Team Adam’s Billy Gilman didn’t get the trophy. Oh, speaking of trophies: HE HAS A GRAMMY, so it’s safe to say life will be okay for the Gilz.
…which means the winner is:
First Place: Sundance Head Dark horse, what?! Original single “Darlin’ Don’t Go,” along with impressive final showings the past couple of weeks, catapulted Sundance to victory. Cue the confetti cannon.
And so wraps another season of The Voice. Do the results get your personal red chair turns of approval? Or will you be sporting an “I’m Still With Wé” shirt until Season 12 premieres in January?