'The Voice' winner: Jermaine Paul beats Juliet Simms, Tony Lucca, and Chris Mann
Before any decisions were made, though, the artists got to have a little fun. It was a refreshing, laid back, no-pressure performance night for the contestants who have been singing for their lives week after week.
First up, Jermaine Paul invited his pals Jamar Rogers, James Massone, and Pip to join him for "I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5. They embraced the boy band spirit with matching outfits, and even some choreography. Jermaine said he chose the song because he really felt that America wanted those fellow contestants back on the show -- and after such a smile-inducing performances, we're inclined to agree with him.
In the spirit of the night, we got to see some gag reel style bloopers from the judges. After some, er, tension this week, it was a nice reminder that coaches Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Cee-Lo Green, and Adam Levine actually know how to have a good time -- and even kind of like each other. Sometimes.
Later on, Flo Rida was joined by Juliet Simms for a medley of his hits "Whistle" and the increasingly popular "Wild Ones." Simms took over the lyrics usually sung by Sia, and we loved the rocker edge that she added to the hip hop dance track. Next up, Chris Mann invited Katrina Parker and Lindsey Pavao back to the stage to perform "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve. It was a strange choice for his particular vocal style, but it definitely highlighted his friends, so for a final performance that he wasn't judged on, it was a selfless choice.
It was then the boys' turn to sing with an established artist. Jermaine, Tony, and Chris joined Hall & Oates for their classic "Rich Girl." No word on whether Christina took this one to heart, too. After a fun performance of "Superstition," in which eliminated contestants Naia Kete, Kim Yarbrough, Sera Hill, and Cheesa got their diva on, there was a bit by "Parks & Recreation" stars Chris Pratt, Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, and Rob Lowe, keeping it all in the NBC family.
Jamar's great attitude behind-the-scenes paid off, because he was invited back not only by Jermaine, but also by Juliet. Juliet's final performance was "A Little Help From My Friends," with Jamar, Erin Willett, and RaeLynn. "We're kind of like a family, and it just felt like the perfect song," Simms says.
Carson Daly had some fun with a package about Purrfect, Cee-Lo's cat, before Lady Antebellum sang, giving "The Voice" contestants a small break, as they performed their single "Wanted You More" without accompaniment.
For his last song, Tony Lucca performed "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac, with vocal powerhouse Jordis Unga. "I think her voice is amazing," he said, singling out her "Maybe I'm Amazed" performance as a turning point in the competition.
Finally, Justin Bieber sang his single. As much as we love a good summer jam, Bieber was not the true draw of this show, so listening to the high-pitched screams of the audience as he whisper-sang "Boyfriend" was a bit grating as we neared the final decision.
The moment arrived. Of course, before Carson made his announcement, we heard a few words from each singer. "Winning would mean... just... it would mean the world to me," Jermaine Paul said, visibly choked up.
"I feel like I kind of grew into my own, right in front of everyone's eyes," Chris Mann said, "as cheesy as it sounds, being myself for the first time, being yourself for the first time is the only way to get here."
Juliet Simms thanked her family and loved ones for their sacrifices. "Honestly, you spend so much time practicing your songs for the show, you don't really spend time practicing what you would say if you got here," she says. "This is my childhood dream and I'm standing here right now."
After a tumultuous season, Tony Lucca said, "It feels like all of the work that I've done up to this point wasn't in vain, and my presence here was warranted. I'm beyond grateful to every piece of this puzzle."
In fourth place was Chris Mann. Less than 0.25% separated him from the third place finalist, Tony Lucca. Only four percentage points separated the second place finalist, Juliet Simms, from winner Jermaine Paul, who sobbed his thank-yous as the show came to an emotional close.
Congratulations to his coach Blake Shelton for the win!!