Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY
Published 11:24 p.m. ET Dec. 17, 2019 | Updated 11:50 p.m. ET Dec. 17, 2019
It was the season of country.
Jake Hoot – the lone country singer in the competition – was crowned the Season 17 champion of “The Voice” during Tuesday’s finale, handing coach Kelly Clarkson her third win in four seasons on the show.
This is something of a Cinderella story for Hoot, who went from receiving only one chair turn during the Blind Auditions to becoming the champion, all thanks to his beloved Hooters.
“I’m a Hooter for life,” Clarkson triumphantly declared, referring to his rowdy fan base that loves to yell “Hoooot” after each performance. Clarkson added, “That’s right, Mom. That’s what I said.”
‘The Voice’ finale: From Jake Hoot to Katie Kadan, who will win it all?
The Tennessee native thanked Clarkson for helping him grow as an “artist and a person, and with your love of your kids, you’ve made me a better parent.”
Hoot, 31, a single father to 4-year-old daughter Macy, earned a single turn from Clarkson during the Blinds for his rendition of Luke Combs’ “When It Rains It Pours.”
Fellow coach Blake Shelton had his eye on Hoot, but didn’t press his button because he assumed that Clarkson would use her block on him. Shelton assumed wrong, and ultimately missed out on his seventh title as a result.
“Jake, I’m so proud of you. You are a one-chair turn, man, and you’re standing in the finale,” Clarkson said during Tuesday’s show. “I’m so honored to be your coach.”
When the votes were tallied, Ricky Duran (Team Blake) finished in second place; Katie Kadan (Team John Legend) came in third; Rose Short (Team Gwen Stefani) in fourth.
This marked the first time in seven seasons where each coach was represented in the finale and had an equal chance of their contestant taking home the coveted trophy.
“This has been the most talented group of singers,” Clarkson added.
The two-hour season finale felt like a concert, with more than a dozen guest performances and post-competition duets with the Top 4 and their musical heroes.
Kadan and Adam Lambert tore the house down with a powerful rendition of Cher’s “Believe.” Lambert and Kadan have a lot in common: He finished as a runner-up on Season 8 of “American Idol” in 2009.
Duran and Gary Clark Jr. – the finalist’s “all-time idol” and “one of the best guitarists in the world,” according to host Carson Daly – joined forces for “Pearl Cadillac.” But it was their epic guitar solos that stole the show.
Short went back to her gospel roots while singing one of her favorite songs, “In the Midst of It All,” with Yolanda Adams, while Hoot looked right at home next to country group Little Big Town while performing “Over Drinking.”
Some fan-favorite contestants who were eliminated throughout the season got another chance on “The Voice” stage.
Max Boyle, Alex Guthrie, Shane Q and Will Breman – some of the season’s most soulful voices – channeled a boy band during their psychedelic performance of The Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin.’ ”
Hello Sunday, Myracle Holloway and Joana Martinez gave the boys a run for their money with a girl group of their own. The ladies showed off their choreographed moves during a sassy rendition of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
That wasn’t the only girl power during the night. Kat Hammock, Marybeth Byrd, Gracee Shriver and Cali Wilson took on Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon.”
Lady Antebellum performed their single “What If I Never Get Over You.” The Black Eyed Peas brought a vibrant light show to the stage with their song “Ritmo (Bad Boys for Life).” (Will.i.am served as an adviser for Team Gwen during the Battles.)
Last year’s “Voice” winner, Maelyn Jarmon, spread the holiday cheer with a candlelit performance of Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” “It feels like coming home,” she said.
She wasn’t the only “Voice” alum to make a return. Former coach Jennifer Hudson offered up a dramatic performance of “Memory” from the upcoming film “Cats,” which she stars in alongside Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson and Taylor Swift, who served as a “mega-mentor” for all teams during the Knockouts.
Other guest performances included Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” and Luke Combs’ “Even Though I’m Leaving.”
The end of Season 17 is bittersweet. Stefani will not return alongside her boyfriend next season. The rocker will be replaced in the coach chair by Nick Jonas, one-third of the multiplatinum Jonas Brothers band.
“I’m so excited to be a part of ‘The Voice’ family,” Jonas said in October. “It’s such an awesome group of individuals, and I can’t wait to help these artists really build and hone in to find their unique voices.”
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