Danielle Bradbery beat out rivals Michelle Chamuel and the Swon Brothers to emerge as the Season 4 winner of "The Voice" on Tuesday night, giving coach Blake Shelton his threepeat. Yup, for the third straight year, and in three out of the four seasons the show has been on the air, a contestant mentored by Shelton has taken the show's top honors.
"I don't give a crap, honestly, about a threepeat," Shelton had said early in the night, long before the results were revealed, insisting he was focused only on this year, when he again had two contestants in the final three.
Admirable sentiments, but perhaps not entirely believable. It's not hard to imagine how much Shelton is going to jocularly lord this unbroken streak over his fellow judges – and especially his bromantic partner Adam Levine. Not only that, Shelton won the darn thing on his very own birthday. Quite a nice gift. Better than any ol' cake, even one baked by Shakira.
After two hours filled with performances – by contestants current and returning and visiting celebs who ran the gamut from break-taking "Voice" coach Christina Aguilera and Pitbull to Bruno Mars to Bob Seger to Cher in her first live TV performance in years – with only five minutes left in the show, Carson Daly finally gathered the Top 3 to hear the news they'd been waiting for.
Who would take it? Would it be Bradbery, the silky-voiced, silky-haired 16-year-old from Cypress, Texas, who Shelton said was destined for big things in country music, and whom Levine had already tipped for the win? Would it be Massachusetts native Chamuel, whose big heart, solid vocals and bendy knees had won her many devoted fans? Or would it be the fraternal duo from Muskogee, Okla., the Swon Brothers, whose good humor and charm are on full display every time they appear on screen?
Going home third, Daly told us, were the Swon Brothers. I'm sure they're disappointed, but they at least left having shared the stage with musical icon Bob Seger.
That left Chamuel and Bradbery. They clung to each other. Shelton and Usher briefly reached across the chasm between their red chairs and clasped hands.
And the winner was … Bradbery. Though it had been all but written, Bradbery, who had until recently been just like any other kid singing in her room, the story line goes, had vaulted straight to the top. She, too, had sung with one of her favorite musicians, young Nashville star Hunter Hayes, during the long lead-up to the results. Now, she'd won the whole thing.
Asked for her reaction, the newly minted winner, so young, stammered, "I don't even know … I'm thankful," before saying, "I'm sorry. I'm speechless."
She tried to sing Sara Evans' "Born to Fly," but when the confetti dropped, she simply had to stop.
No matter, now that she's taken flight, as she was born to do, we're sure we'll be hearing her voice for a long, long time.