America voted, and now Jermaine Paul is "The Voice." The long-time backup singer for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys received a recording contract with Universal Records and a $100,000 prize.
Jermaine Paul is officially a solo artist.
The former background singer was crowned winner of "The Voice" on Tuesday night's season finale, securing him with a $100,000 prize and a recording contract with Universal Records.
Paul, Blake Shelton's protégé, edged out Team Cee Lo's Juliet Simms by just four percentage points in a contest that had no clear frontrunner. Just one quarter of a percentage point separated Team Adam's Tony Lucca from Team Christina's Chris Mann, who came in fourth.
Paul's emotions poured out ahead of the highly-anticipated announcement. When asked by host Carson Daly what a win would mean to him, he struggled to get the words out.
"Winning would just mean," he said, before stopping to swallow back tears. The audience roared and he quickly finished his thought. "It would mean the world."
When he was named the winner, he broke down again, commenting on "all the years that I put in."
Throughout the entire season, Paul talked about his long career as a background singer for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys, and how he wanted so badly, for himself and his family, to truly make it in the industry.
His laser-like focus on his end-goal was apparent from his blind audition when he turned the tables on Cee Lo and Blake, who were each vying his talent. Unlike a number of younger and less experienced contestants, who selected their coaches eagerly and with little deliberation, Paul grilled them both.
"Can I ask y'all a couple questions?" he said. "I just want to know—you said you want me on your team. Want is a cool word. Need is even a better word, but I want to hear that word keep. You know, I want to be kept."
Both coaches' replies to the then-unknown singer turned out to a bit prescient.
Cee Lo told him that "the people are going to keep you around," and Blake told him that he was special but had work to do.
The hint of arrogance he displayed that first day was replaced with a willingness to try new things, and trust in his coach's recommendations. That was no more apparent than when he sang Blake Shelton's hit country single, "God Gave Me You" during one of his final live performances
Paul accepted his victory with tears streaming down his face and his wife in his arms, as he performed "I Believe I Can Fly," on "The Voice" stage one last time.
A number of silly segments, including a montage of Cee Lo and his cat and a discussion of Adam and Blake's bromance, distracted from the swelling suspense over the two-hour season finale. Performances from former "Voice" contestants and top-selling artists, like Hall & Oats and Justin Bieber also called attention away from the ticking clock.
The bickering and tension that had ebbed and flowed throughout the season was finally gone. There were no more critiques, just appreciation and compliments. Even Christina said that she was proud of "all four of you," finally giving Tony Lucca, her former fellow Mouseketeer, the pat on the back she refused him for weeks.