The three finalists of Season 5 of "The Voice" were revealed Tuesday night, and they are (drumroll, please) … Team Adam's Tessanne Chin (yay!), Team Christina's Jacquie Lee (hooray!) and Team Adam's Will Champlin (wow, really? OK, great!).
Chin and Lee seemed like shoo-ins thanks to their terrific performances Monday night. And though Champlin had not quite met his usual standard of pitch perfection when he sang Fun's "Carry On" this week, he'd sung it as if it were a triumphant anthem evoking his own remarkable persistence in the competition, so it would be a stretch to call his advancement a complete surprise.
After several near eliminations earlier in the season, Champlin has clearly connected with the show's audience. The multi-talented rock musician's son, who seems to have marbles in his mouth when he speaks, appears comfortable only while immersed in song. It's as if we're watching him soak in the music and expand before our eyes.
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What's more, despite his rock pedigree (his father was a member of the band Chicago), Champlin seems to have fought an uphill battle in his career, and certainly he has on the show. Shed from teams twice and picked up again as many times, and then almost voted off only to be saved by coach Adam Levine, who called his rescue "maybe surprising," Champlin's is a story of hard work and stick-to-it-ive-ness, of not letting disappointment dissuade you from pursuing your goals.
Perhaps this is what has so resonated with voters, allowing Champlin to outlast Team Blake's Cole Vosbury, who on Tuesday departed with his beard and coach Blake Shelton's hope for a fourpeat, and Champlin's Team Adam teammate James Wolpert, who was also sent home.
In a show crowded with performances from successful "Voice" alumni – Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope and Season 4 victor Danielle Bradbery sang, as did Season 4 finalists the Swon Brothers and Michelle Chamuel – Wolpert was the first to be told he'd be sent home before the finals. Then Chin and Lee learned they were safe, leaving Vosbury and Champlin to await their fates.
Each talked about how much he'd learned and said he didn't want to go home and let his coach down, but ultimately, it was Champlin whose coach was left smiling.
Levine has a lot to be happy about. He's moving on to the finale with two singers in contention, Christina Aguilera with one. Shelton, meanwhile, now joins CeeLo Green in having no singers left in the running and no shot at Season 5 bragging rights. On the bright side, and to riff off the three-time-winning coach's own recent joke, Shelton's cowboy hat may fit his big head a little better now.
Do you think voters chose the right three finalists? And who do you think will take the whole thing?