“The Voice” crowned Texas teen Danielle Bradbery its new winner on Tuesday, proving to the country singer that she could do what she’d thought to be impossible.
“I remember singing in my room to my wall, just acting like there’s so many people out there even though I knew I could never do that,” Bradbery told CNN after her big win. “My mom wanted to do something about my voice, and signed me up and we took a road trip to Dallas for ‘The Voice’ (auditions) not knowing what was going to happen. I was scared to death. And it led to me being the winner, and that is unbelievable.”
The 16-year-old claimed the title during Tuesday’s finale of the NBC singing competition, which was packed with performances from Cher, Bruno Mars and “Voice” coach Christina Aguilera, who will return to the series next season after a short hiatus. Bradbery is “The Voice’s” youngest winner, and also the third victor in a row from coach Blake Shelton’s team.
Shelton, who was celebrating his 37th birthday on Tuesday, told CNN that he doesn’t try to win as much as he tries to build a team that excites him.
“This year, I finally got the country team that I dreamed of since day one, and I have a little bit more knowledge about that than I had in the past,” he said. “But the truth is, anybody could win if they have Danielle Bradbery. She’s just an incredible, God-given gift to the music industry. Anybody who can sing like that, with almost no experience whatsoever coming into this thing, is very special. Any producer, no matter what genre, would be thankful to work with somebody that talented.”
New “The Voice” coach Usher Raymond saw one of his mentees, Michelle Chamuel, land in second place, while the Swon Brothers from Shelton’s team came in third.
The show itself was a huge ratings winner for NBC on Tuesday, as the finale pulled in 15.3 million viewers. That marked “The Voice’s” most-watched finale to date, and it also surpasses the 14.3 million who watched “American Idol’s” 12th season finale on Fox in May.
That veteran singing competition is undergoing a slew of changes, as Fox has announced that longtime producer Nigel Lythgoe is departing “Idol,” along with judges Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. But perhaps the updates will benefit “Idol” in the same way it’s worked for “The Voice,” which temporarily brought in Usher and Shakira as coaches this season in place of Aguilera and Cee Lo Green.
“People thought we were crazy to switch up something that was working,” host Carson Daly told CNN, “But ... it’s about American families. I think people feel guilty that there’s not enough connectivity between their kids and themselves, and maybe their parents if they’re still around. There’s not a lot of great TV on network primetime that brings them all together. If you can figure out how to do that, and I think ‘The Voice’ has, then you’re doing something right.”
CNN’s KJ Matthews contributed to this report.
Breeanna Hare | CNN