I haven't watched The Voice in a few years, but I tuned in on Tuesday night for the two-night Season 14 finale, and I was shocked to see a 15-year-old take the crown. Who is Brynn Cartelli, the NBC singing competition's newest star? The teenage singer just made history by becoming The Voice's youngest champion ever, and from what I heard, she's beyond deserving of that title.
Cartelli was originally cast when she was 14 years old (her birthday was in April), and she was quickly invited to join former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's team. Before joining The Voice, Cartelli was just a regular kid from Longmeadow, Massachusetts who honed her vocal skills at coffee shops and school talent shows. According to her NBC bio, the young star is a pretty normal high school student with some serious talent:
Brynn can be seen singing in home videos as early as age four. At six, Brynn joined a local theater program and established herself as a singer through school talent and variety shows. She balances her natural pursuits with a busy school schedule and playing lacrosse. Currently, Brynn plays at local coffee shops and small venues, but she is looking for bigger audiences.
Obviously, that's all about to change, because Cartelli just won a major record deal with Universal Music Group and a cool $100,000. Not bad for a high schooler.
In the blind audition, Cartelli stunned the coaches when she revealed that that deep, soulful voice comes from the body of a 14-year-old. Coach Adam Levine remarked that the young singer sounds like "a 36-year-old who's been through it" rather than a lacrosse-playing high school student. Clarkson immediately recognized Cartelli's talent, and after she hit her red button in approval, the veteran singer said, "I can win with you." Kelly, can you predict the future or something?
Cartelli has wowed all season, and she quickly became a fan-favorite due to her amazing skill (her age-defying range helped, too). In the finale, the Voice winner held her own next to Julia Michaels, and the two performed a mash-up of "Issues" and "Jump." Michaels also wrote the original song Cartelli performed on the first night of the finale, "Walk My Way."
Despite her talent, winning The Voice was no cake walk for Cartelli. The runner-up, 18-year-old Britton Buchanan, is just as good, and his bluesy rendition of "In The Air Tonight" with Christiana Danielle, Jackie Foster, Mia Boostrom, and WILKES is a must-watch. Third- and fourth-runner ups Spensha Baker and Kyla Jade also wowed fans over the course of the season with amazing duets and creative original songs, but ultimately, they couldn't pull out a win for coach Blake Shelton.
While many fans are happy for Cartelli, some fans on Twitter believe that Jade deserved to win. The African American gospel singer consistently left the coaches speechless with her emotional performances, and some feel that racism prevented Jade from taking the top spot.
No matter who ended up winning, it's likely that all four Voice finalists will go on to have very long and successful careers. I mean, they're all amazing, and they can sing circles around anyone we hear on the radio today. Clarkson has insisted that she'll support Cartelli by checking in on her until "she's at least 30, whether she wants me to or not," and I'd be willing to bet that the other coaches will do the same.
NBC has yet to announce an official premiere date for The Voice Season 15, but expect to see a few familiar faces in those spinning chairs. Clarkson, Shelton, and Adam Levine will all be returning as coaches for the fifteenth season, and Jennifer Hudson will be stepping in to replace Alicia Keys. Hudson was a coach during Season 13, so's no newbie to The Voice. While none of her contestants made it to the finale last time, I have a good feeling that she'll be out for blood in Season 15.