June 23, 2021

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‘The Voice’ finale: Gwen Stefani returns to surprise ‘Blakey,’ plus Top 5 perform. Who will win it all?

5 min read

It’s down to the Final Five. 

“The Voice” is one night away from crowning its 20th champion on its 10th year on air. But before the final five took the stage, the NBC show paused the singing competition to congratulate the last original coach on his 10-year anniversary: Blake Shelton. 

Gwen Stefani, the reigning champion and Shelton’s fiancée, returned during the finale to surprise her “Blakey” with a special tribute video from his former artists over the decade.

“Obviously you changed my life when I met you on ‘The Voice’ my first season (in 2014), but sometimes I don’t think you realize the impact you have had on so many other people’s lives on this show,” Stefani said. The video included touching messages from Ian Flanigan (Season 19), Todd Tilghman (Season 18 winner), Toneisha Harris (Season 18), Cassadee Pope (Season 3 winner), RaeLynn (Season 2) and more.

And, what may be the first time in “Voice” history, Shelton was left speechless: “I don’t know what to say. That’s a lot to take in. It’s overwhelming. I love my job here and I love that I’ve been able to have some little chapter in people’s lives.”

Last week on ‘The Voice’: Blake Shelton has an edge going into ‘Voice’ finale after shocking Top 5 reveal

More: Kelly Clarkson’s video of Gwen Stefani attacking Blake Shelton backfires badly

Now back to the competition.

The only thing separating one of the top five finalists – Rachel Mac, 16; Cam Anthony, 19; Victor Solomon, 22; Kenzie Wheeler, 23; and Jordan Matthew Young, 35 – from hoisting “The Voice” trophy is two final performances on Monday. 

Each artist was tasked with performing a song that signifies their journey and a special selection dedicated to someone instrumental in their life. Each coach is represented in the finale, but Shelton has a slight advantage with two finalists, compared to Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Nick Jonas each having a solo singer. 

From Clarkson’s mullet-wielding cowboy to Jonas’ teen Darkhorse, who will win it all? Here’s what happened during Monday’s finale:

‘The Voice’ semifinals:Nick Jonas reveals he ‘cracked rib’ in bike accident; Top 9 perform

"The Voice" final five, from left: Kenzie Wheeler, 23; Cam Anthony, 19; Rachel Mac, 16; Victor Solomon, 22; and Jordan Matthew Young, 35.

Team Clarkson’s Kenzie Wheeler

The four-chair turn kicked off the finale with upbeat honky-tonk vibes on George Strait’s “Heartland.” Clarkson danced alongside cowboy-wearing background dancers from her signature red chair, giving the performance a concert feel.  

“We all miss going to shows and that’s exactly what that moment was,” Clarkson said. “I want to go to a bar, thank you for the inspiration. I think you are so fantastic.”

Kenzie, a “seventh-generation Floridian,” got emotional while dedicating Tracy Byrd’s “Keeper Of The Stars” to “the town that raised me”: Dover, Florida. 

“Roots are so important. I think you made a lot of people proud in Florida tonight,” Jonas said.

Team Legend’s Victor Solomon

The Illinois native, a three-chair turn, dedicated a passionate rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” to his wife Ciarra Noelle. In a heartfelt letter introducing his performance, Solomon recited, “From the first moment I saw you on Twitter, I knew that you would be the one for me.”

Jonas can relate. “I loved your dedication in the beginning. It was beautiful. I happened to meet my wife on Twitter,” Jonas said of wife Priyanka Chopra.

Legend applauded Solomon for adding his “personality, soul and artistry” to the classic. 

Solomon ended his run of the show with a powerful rendition of Beyoncé’s “Freedom,” which included some high-energy choreography and rapped segments. All the coaches were on their feet.

Legend said that Solomon’s act was “the best performance I witnessed on this stage.”

Team Shelton’s Jordan Matthew Young

Shelton said his three-chair turn Texan, who earned the last spot in the finals by way of the Instant Save last week, showcased yet “another lane” on Eric Clapton and B.B. King’s “Key To The Highway.” Young’s soulful performance included a guitar solo, and as Shelton put it, “he lives and dies with his guitar in his hand.”

Legend said “no one is doing music like you on this show.” He also gave Young a new superlative: “You are the best dressed man on this season of ‘The Voice.'”

Shelton said Young’s performance was so good that it “calls for a drink, America.” The coaches then raised their cups in a socially-distanced “cheers.”

Young dedicated a country-inspired version of Rihanna’s “Stay” to his late grandmothers Betty and Joy, who he “never got to say goodbye” to. “I cannot thank you both enough for shaping me into who I am today,” he wrote in his emotional letter. 

Jonas said Young pours his “heart and soul into everything you do.” Shelton’s remarks were a little more crass. He said Young just “slapped America on both sides of the face.”

Team Jonas’ Rachel Mac

 The Michigan native – a one-chair turn, who is the youngest singer in the competition – dedicated an emotional rendition of Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” to her 8-month-old nephew Ezra, who like Mac, entered the world “raised by a single parent.”

Jonas said Mac’s dedication “nearly made me cry” and said her accomplishments so far would make anyone proud: “16, the only female still in this competition and a one chair turn, and you just got up there and gave one of your best performances.”

Clarkson complimented the “pure and angelic” tone of Mac’s voice. 

Mac performed a fiery rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” in the middle of a dreamy forest. “How did you get the Garden of Eden in here for your performance?” Legend asked. 

Jonas said her performance felt like “an amazing concert” that he would’ve loved to attend: “I would have wanted you to keep going on for 30 or 40 minutes.”

Team Shelton’s Cam Anthony

The three-chair turn from Pennsylvania debuted a symbolic afro after dedicating a powerful performance of Cynthia Erivo’s “Stand Up” to visionaries who fight for “inclusion” and believe “faith and love can guide us all.” All of the coaches were on their feet during the visually stunning performance and gave the first standing ovation of the finale.

Legend said Anthony is “ready for any stage you want to be on.” He said Anthony posses the “God-given talent” and “performance ability” to be a “superstar.”

“It’s too bad that Nick (Jonas) took the chance away from you,” Shelton joked, referring to Jonas using his block on Legend during the Blind Auditions. On a more serious note, Shelton said Anthony may “change everything for this show” and blow up. 

Anthony crossed over to rock ‘n’ rollfor a rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive.”

Although Shelton was “shocked” by Anthony’s song selection, the cowboy said it just proves there’s “nothing this kid can’t do.” Clarkson said she was also “surprised” by his selection, adding “he nailed that song obviously.”

What’s next?

The singers’ fates are now up to America. 

The winner of Season 20 will be revealed during Tuesday’s star-studded, two-hour finale live show (8 EDT/PDT) following overnight viewer voting.

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