NBC's "The Voice" named its next winner on Tuesday night, bringing to a close its twelfth season with a major surprise as once again, America voted in a direction that the rest of the season didn't see coming - and the show wound up making some history on its way out.
Tuesday night's live finale revealed that winner of Season 12 of "The Voice" is Team Alicia's Chris Blue, upsetting odds-on favorite Lauren Duski of Team Blake. Duski had been a consistant performer on the Top 10 of the iTunes Singles Chart, and would have locked up another victory for coach Blake Shelton. Instead, it's coach Alicia Keys who gets to go out on top, and fans can celebrate the fact that after a long drought, a female coach has won "The Voice" two of the past three years.
Duski came in second, with her Team Blake teammate Aliyah Moulden in third place and Adam Levine's finalist Jesse Larson finishing fourth.
It's the biggest upset on "The Voice" since Season 7, when Team Blake knocked off three Team Adam finalists to capture the show's trophy. Blue had quietly survived the elimination shows week after week, yet hadn't shown strong chart performance until later in the season. Both his final solo performance and original song reached the Top 10 on the iTunes Singles Chart after Monday's first half of the finale. He's not only the first winner for Team Alicia, he's also the first R&B artist to win "The Voice" since Season 2's Jermaine Paul.
Aside from naming a winner, the other big news from the "Voice" finale was a performance by incoming coach Jennifer Hudson. Hudson, who is replacing Alicia Keys as a coach next season, wasn't initially on the list of finale performers that NBC issued. Then the network sent out a new press release Monday saying Hudson would indeed make her first "Voice" appearance since taking her new coaching position, and she was easily the highest-profile musical guest.
The night also featured the returns of three other "Voice" coaches, as the singing competition placed an emphasis on the contestants performing with celebrities rather than each other. Miley Cyrus took the Universal Studios Hollywood stage to perform her latest single "Malibu." Meanwhile, former coach Usher was a last-minute addition to perform "Everybody Hurts" with Team Alicia finalist Chris Blue, and Cee Lo Green teamed up with Team Adam's Jesse Larson for a cover of "Shining Star."
Other performances on Tuesday included Zedd and Alessia Cara performing "Stay" and guest appearances by Rascal Flatts with Brennley Brown ("Yours If You Want It") and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee with Mark Isaiah ("Despacito"). Even eliminated coach Gwen Stefani was allowed to get in on the act, bringing back her last eliminated artist Hunter Plake for a duet.
Season 13 of "The Voice" begins this fall on NBC.