The viewers have spoken and the next great American singing star is… Josh Kaufman.
The bespectacled singer made TV history on The Voice last night as the first “stolen” contestant to win the reality-TV competition.
As viewers who have watched The Voice all season can attest, Kaufman began the show’s sixth season on Team Adam, but was shrewdly nicked by Usher in the second round.
And how many times has Adam Levine bemoaned that loss in recent weeks?
The 38-year-old Kaufman’s win was the perfect capper for the finale episode that also saw performances from the likes of OneRepublic, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Robin Thicke.
Kaufman’s victory was also the first for Usher, thereby shattering the shared five-season winning streak by The Voice coaches Levine (who fielded the winner in seasons one and five) and Blake Shelton (seasons two, three and four).
In last night’s closer, Shelton’s country-style singer Jake Worthington came in second, while Levine’s protégé Christina Grimmie was third.
But the big winner was Kaufman, a father of three whose rise to the top of The Voice heap was seemingly a Rocky story.
During the opening rounds of the competition, Kaufman was the unassuming sleeper contestant who gradually evolved into a slick crooner under Usher’s guidance.
In the past few weeks, Kaufman’s soulful cover interpretations of several songs, including Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me and John Legend’s All of Me, ranked in the upper echelons of iTunes weekly charts.
But more likely viewers were drawn to the story of Kaufman’s dogged determination to make it in the music industry.
As restated repeatedly throughout the series, Kaufman was formerly a shy 16-year-old kid who lasted two rounds on the now-defunct talent-search series Star Search before getting eliminated.
Kaufman also attempted to launch his singing career on The X Factor but never got past the audition stage.
Talking immediately after the show, Kaufman said the toughest part of the competition was waiting to hear the final results of viewer votes compiled by phone, text and online.
“It was a lot of nerves and heart-racing and it felt like forever,” said the singer at the post-show press conference.
Kaufman will join other former winners on this summer’s Voice Live tour, after which he will go into the studio to record his debut album.