Here we are, at the end of The Voice‘s almost shockingly successful debut season, one that may have actually turned around NBC’s abysmal fortunes. There’s not a ton of internal drama in The Voice‘s reality, and I can’t say I cared too terribly much which of the four finalists would win. But the journey has been an altogether pleasant one, and everyone who appeared on the show last night looked like they somehow belonged on television—everyone who wasn’t Carson Daly, anyway. The guest stars were all pretty low-rent by American Idol standards (the guy from OneRepublic? Now?) but last night’s finale was more a beginning than an ending, and we’re still a long way away from learning if the show will ever become a part of the cultural firmament the way Idol has.
In the end, Javier Colon narrowly squeaked out a win over Dia Frampton, and nobody looked all that surprised. In the moments leading up to it, the only people who looked stressed were Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, Javier and Dia’s respective coaches. It was nice, but it wasn’t earth-shaking, and all four finalists have almost the exact same likelihood to go on to do anything.
In a taped segment, all the contestants gushed about how amazing it was to be on Tonight. Given that they’re effectively prime-time TV stars already, this seemed like a weird thing to get excited about. I didn’t much like this segment, mostly because it reminded me that Jay Leno continues to exist. I like to pretend I live in a world where such things don’t happen.
Vicci Martinez got the dubious honor of singing “Drops of Jupiter” with the fuckbag from Train, who looks like a run-down, bus-station version of Adam Levine. He could be Adam Levine’s sketchy uncle who shows up to weddings asking to borrow money. (After the performance, Carson announced that Train and Maroon 5 would tour together this summer, and it’s fun to imagine scenarios like that one playing out backstage even though Train is probably currently more successful than Maroon 5.) I really, really like Vicci as a singer, but it’s hard to pay her much mind when she’s sharing a stage with a fascinating charisma vacuum.
Because he’s the obvious biggest star among the contestants, Javier sang with the biggest of the show’s guest stars: Stevie Nicks. They did “Landslide” together, and it was, predictably enough, fucking gorgeous. Colon’s voice is perfectly built for tender little songs like this one; he’s got this rare thing where he can do showy r&b runs and make them sound like extensions of the song’s actual emotion. And it was cool to see him share the stage with someone who has a natural gravitas. The two voices made for a slightly odd combination, but it worked a whole fuck of a lot better than that Grammy broadcast where Stevie had to sing with Taylor Swift. I can just imagine Nicks’ relief when she showed up on set and realized she’d been paired with someone who could actually sing.
Somehow, Beverly McClellan ended up singing alongside Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic, and I kept half-expecting her to lean over and just bite his face off. Sadly, this did not happen; I guess neck tattoos of sharks are not a true indication of personal character. They sang some stupid OneRepublic song I didn’t recognize, possibly operating under the perfectly sound logic that nobody needs to hear “Apologize” in a non-Walgreens situation ever again. Beverly is fun as fuck to watch in any situation, but the show should’ve given her a better partner.
It was only a matter of time before Blake Shelton’s wife Miranda Lambert appeared on the show, and she finally came though on the finale to sing alongside Dia Frampton, a woman who could conceivably make her very nervous. (Dia Frampton looks good, is what I’m saying.) They sang Miranda’s plainspoken ballad “The House That Built Me,” which is just a really nice song. It’s weird to hear Dia singing country in any capacity; I’m not quite sure how to describe her coffeehouse yip except to say that it’s the opposite of twang. But she seemed as comfortable, in her willowy sort of way, as she is singing anything else. Mostly, I was just happy for an opportunity to see Lambert singing on TV. Miranda Lambert is a bad motherfucker.