May 9th, 2012
10:23 AM ET
If you pinpointed Jermaine Paul as the singer who'd be named "The Voice" this season, good call: The former back-up singer for Alicia Keys now has a recording contract of his own with Universal Republic, as well as $100,000.
"Winning would mean... the world to me," a nearly speechless Jermaine said before it was revealed that he was the winner.
The reveal was reality-show-slow, with Team Christina's Chris Mann coming in fourth place, Team Adam's Tony Lucca in third, and Team Cee Lo's Juliet Simms being the runner-up, just four percentage points behind Paul.
Although Entertainment Weekly notes that Juliet appeared to be the one to beat, the New York Times points out that it's likely Jermaine quietly had this win in the bag for much of the season, when you take into account how brutal the elimination process can be. (Fans of Jesse Campbell and Lindsey Pavao, here's where you commiserate.)
The Times observes that the 32-year-old from Spring Valley, New York started "The Voice " as a "slick and burly" crooner, but "ended the season an underdog brimming with hope," and you could see how moved and shocked Paul was when he was announced the champion.
With his family on stage embracing him, Jermaine at times couldn't make it all the way through his reprisal of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" as he stopped for congratulatory hugs, soaking in the moment.
Backstage, Jermaine revealed to CNN who's at the top of his list to work with now that he's no longer in the background, as host Carson Daly pointed out.
“Cee Lo [Green] is amazing," the new "Voice" winner told us. "Definitely an amazing dude. I can’t wait to work with him! I’m claiming it right now. He didn’t say anything but we are going to do a song. We are going to do something together. I promise you it’s going down."
We look forward to it, Jermaine! And we also caught up with Adam Levine about the drama he and Christina Aguilera have been a part of this season, to which the Maroon 5 singer told us seemed more intense than it really is.
"I’m not really wired for beef," Levine said. "And so I don’t have any. I just hope that it can all be good. I think that it is. I hope it is."
Part of the issue with Tony Lucca was that Christina Aguilera thought he had something of an unfair advantage due to the support he received from their former "Mickey Mouse Club" co-stars, but when you think about it, other contestants had show biz pasts as well, including winner Jermaine and the season 1 title holder, Javier Colon.
What do you think of the contestants having history in the industry? And were you pulling for Paul to win? Let us know in the comments!
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