Allow me to introduce this season’s winner of The Voice: Danielle Bradbery. You remember her: blonde thing, 16, covered in confetti? After two hours of singing and smiling and jokes, she was crowned. Would you believe me if I said I kind of like Danielle now? No trolling: Her essential weaknesses (generally robotic performance style; slow-to-warm lower register) were covered over by her blossoming strengths (bubbly behind-the-scenes personality; love of Hunter Hayes). Tonight Danielle was the teen prodigy I didn’t vote for and a fun-seeming teenager. But that was only one of the many surprises and paradoxes in this double-dose finale, which packed in so many musical performances and gimmicky videos while appearing to stand completely still. I took three pages of notes. One of them is entirely about Cher. But first…
At the top of the show, Carson promises us so much talent and so many favorites: Pitbull, Nelly, Christina (and Christina). He takes us on a whirlwind recap of last night’s performance finale, including another look at the endlessly, unnecessarily strange Blake/Danielle duet. Records, Carson tells us, have been broken. How many? Which ones? ”Unprecedented” and “a lot.”
With a flick of the light board and the drop of a curtain, Xtina enters, complete with Pitbull (who I always forget is so bald). Absent for a season – in body, if not in spirit – the once-and-future-coach owns it. Strangles it, too (the song), a little, but it’s mostly positive. Her voice is enormous. The song (re: Pitbull) isn’t really. But the premise is that America has forgotten about Xtina and needs to be reminded. Also, where did all those streamers come from? Was there a vocal trigger, set to send them raining down when she hit a certain note? I swear I looked down and in a flash, the stage was gleaming.
It’s time – maybe the last – for some inter-coach banter. Blake is turning 40! Shakira baked him a cake! Which revelation surprised you more? Other revelations: Adam (mystery beard in full effect) doesn’t necessarily stand by his call that Danielle is a lock for the win while Usher isn’t going to be proud of Michelle if she wins – he’s already proud of her.
Next is the first contestants’ performance, with The Swons reuniting alongside Holly, Justin, and Amber on Lady A’s “Stars Tonight.” Their harmonies remind me of how much I love Lady A songs when they aren’t sad while making me sad because Amber is back, but only for a song. Paradoxes, remember?
NEXT: Bad bromance