As expected, Jordan Smith — the 22-year-old church choir leader from Kentucky and clear favourite from the very beginning — took home the crown on the Season 9 finale Tuesday night. His celebrity coach, Adam Levine, was predictably thrilled.
Smith, who broke The Voice iTunes chart records with sales of his performances from the show, is now the proud owner of a Universal Music Group record deal. This will be especially interesting given his coach’s recent, candid remarks about how very few Voice winners have seen any actual career success — he blamed the record labels.
Last month, Levine slammed the labels affiliated with the show, saying that executives have no clue what to do after a Voice winner lands on their doorstep, let alone develop a strategy to make them a star.
“When the baton is passed post-Voice, there’s some problems. People take over after we do this great job of building these people up on the show. There’s some real issues there,” Levine fumed to Howard Stern, adding, “The rollout of all that is still such a mess.”
Levine clarified that he and his fellow coaches, along with NBC, make a real effort to help their contestants prepare for a real-world singing career. But when the season ends, there’s only so much they can do.
“We do so much great (stuff) for these singers and then they go to a record label that I won’t mention. But they go to a record label that (messes) it up,” Levine said.
As of now, Smith is clearly primed for stardom. His songs landed in the iTunes Top 10 every single week of the live show; the first time that has ever happened for a contestant. Smith’s performances included Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”; Beyoncé’s “Halo”; and the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Most famously, during a recent episode, Smith’s cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” knocked Adele’s smash “Hello” out of the top spot on the iTunes charts.
The judges were obsessed with him from the start: all four spun around in their chairs during Smith’s blind audition (he sang Sia’s “Chandelier”) and were stunned by his voice. In a Slate article that detailed how Smith — a student at an evangelical Christian college in Tennessee — appealed to religious viewers, writer Suzannah Showler noted he was dubbed “the unicorn.”