And the winner of 'The Voice' is ...
'The Voice' final three: Jake Worthington, Josh Kaufman and Christina Grimmie. (Tyler Golden/NBC / May 19, 2014)
Kaufman, a supple-voiced soul-singing father of three from Indianapolis, said he'd wanted to win for his wife and children — so he could support them through his music rather than by tutoring kids for the SAT, as creatively satisfying as that work must be. But his win means more than that. It marks the first time in the history of "The Voice" that a contestant coached by anyone other than Blake Shelton or Adam Levine has earned "The Voice" crown.
Never mind that Kaufman began the season on Team Adam and was stolen by Usher halfway through. Or that he thanked both coaches for their "invaluable input." The look on Usher's face when Kaufman's win was announced spoke volumes. And Levine, to his credit, wandered over to this season's winning coach to offer his congratulations — along with a wink.
Even though Kaufman had burned up the stage with his performances the previous night — giving Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" and Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" a complete working over — his win, though hardly a surprise, had not seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Jake Worthington, as sweet a down-home boy as they come, had the country-music fan base on his side as well as anyone who has a soft spot for truly nice guys. And Christina Grimmie has built up a huge following on YouTube.
Plus, there had been an iTunes glitch that prevented fans from finding Kaufman's triumphant rendition of "Set Fire to the Rain," which, some feared, would affect his shot at the win, since each iTunes purchase counts as a vote and reaching the top 10 on iTunes multiplies those votes by five.
But the show solved the problem by simply not factoring the iTunes downloads for any of the artists' songs into the results — taking the precaution of enlisting an outside agency to verify that doing so would not affect the results.
And so Kaufman carried the day and collected the win. (Levine announced that he will sign Grimmie, who finished in third place, to his record label regardless, and Shelton will surely help Worthington, who came in second, continue to make a name for himself in country music, as he has done with other contestants.)
Surrounded by his family — wife, kids, parents and assorted others — as the confetti cannons did their thing, Kaufman declared himself to be "overwhelmed, surprised, happy, relieved."
"This has been so much more of an experience than I ever imagined," he said.
Congratulations, Josh. I'm sure many more remarkable experiences await.