'The Voice' finale recap: Jermaine Paul wins Season 2
Jermaine Paul won! The former backup singer for Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige stepped definitively out of the background and into the winner's circle in the Season 2 finale of "The Voice" Tuesday night.
"Winning would mean just, uh … it would mean the world to me," Paul had said, choking up, moments before Carson Daly revealed the results of the audience vote that would determine the winner.
It had taken Paul years of hard work, touring and toiling, to get there, clustered with fellow contestants Chris Mann, Juliet Simms and Tony Lucca, on the "Voice" stage, waiting to hear whether he'd captured this season's crown, as well as the recording contract and $100,000 that come with it. (Each of the four finalists had already won a new car, we learned during the finale, and Paul had seemed particularly tickled about his new wheels.)
Viewers may have felt they had spent years getting to the moment of truth as well. Tuesday's two-hour finale included performances by the four finalists, who brought back previously dispatched Season 2 "Voice" contestants to sing with them. But that wasn't even the half of it. There were highlight reels of the judges' bloopers, a tribute to CeeLo Green's cat, a look at Blake Shelton and Adam Levine's "bromance." Flo Rida dueted with Simms. Daryl Hall and John Oates sang "Rich Girl," backed by Paul, Mann and Lucca. Lady Antebellum performed. And Justin Bieber kept that promise he made his fans and the show earlier this season and returned to sing his new single "Boyfriend." (What, you didn't belieb him?)
At the outset of the show, Paul's coach, Shelton, uttered words that would prove prescient: "Jermaine Paul dug down deep" with his stirring, stylish rendition of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" Monday night, giving "the performance of his lifetime," Shelton said. "He won."
And win he did.
Daly revealed the results from the bottom up, revealing first the contestant finishing fourth, Team Christina's Mann, who was separated from the third-place finisher, Team Adam's Lucca, by only a quarter of one percentage point. (Talk about a squeaker.)
That left Paul and Team CeeLo's Simms clinging to each other, awaiting their fate.
Only four percentage points separated them, Daly said, then asked, "Are you ready to find out the winner?"
In the seconds before she learned she'd finished second, tears gushed down Simms' face. But her emotional display was no match for Paul's once he learned he'd triumphed. He thanked the voters, his wife, his children, his parents, even his mother-in-law. (What a guy.) And then he gave a special shout-out: "Nobody but Jesus, man, nobody."
Then he had so many people to hug and kiss, he could barely get through the beginning of "I Believe I Can Fly," which he was to reprise, singing a large part of it holding his wife, who was sobbing in his arms.
But finally, Paul broke away from the pack and let his voice soar, which it did, as impressively as ever.
Paul's career, too, is set to take wing. I believe he can fly. And though I wouldn't have minded seeing Simms go home a victor (I'll forever admire her "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World"), I have to admit, the win couldn't have happened to a nicer-seeming guy.
Are you happy Jermaine Paul won?
Who's got your vote?
Each week our experts and readers rank the best of the best between the two blockbuster singing competitions. Last week, readers put "American Idol's" Jessica Sanchez just slightly ahead of "The Voice's" Juliet Simms on top. Who will be the favorite this week? Vote below and check out last week's performances and see what our judges had to say at latimes.com/idol-voice.
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: "The Voice" winner Jermaine Paul with coach Blake Shelton. Credit: Justin Lubin / NBC