'The Voice' Crowns a New Champion! Bryce Leatherwood Wins Season 22

The season 22 Voice finale featured team Camila Cabello's Morgan Myles, team John Legend's Omar Jose Cardona and team Blake Shelton's Bryce Leatherwood, Bodie and Brayden Lape

THE VOICE - “Live Finale Part 2” Bryce Leatherwood
Bryce Leatherwood. Photo: Trae Patton/NBC

Congratulations, Bryce Leatherwood!

The 22-year-old Statesboro, Georgia, resident was crowned the winner of season 22 of The Voice on Tuesday night.

Leatherwood's win marks a record ninth victory for coach Blake Shelton, who will be stepping away from the hit NBC singing competition series for the first time in 11 years after next season.

After the finale, the coach-contestant duo chatted with PEOPLE about their exciting win — which Leatherwood said he never expected.

"It's just so humbling to know that people love Bryce Leatherwood," he said. "People love what I stand for. People love my music and how I sang. It took me by surprise that America chose me. I just think my goal in life is to make people happy, and America made me happy today. I'm very excited to be The Voice champion of season 22."

Leatherwood beat out fellow team Shelton contestants Brayden Lape and Bodie, team John Legend's Omar Jose Cardona and team Camila Cabello's Morgan Myles.

RELATED GALLERY: A Complete Guide to Every Winner of The Voice

THE VOICE - “Live Finale Part 2” Bryce Leatherwood
Blake Shelton and Bryce Leatherwood. Trae Patton/NBC

Earlier in the night, Shelton, 46, sang his hit "Hillbilly Bone" with Leatherwood, who he said reminds him of a younger version of himself.

"I see a lot of myself in Bryce," Shelton said. "I guess the thing that I can relate to is it's still all out in front of him right now, and who knows where this thing is going to go for him? When I think of myself at that age, I was hoping someday I would just hear myself on the radio. At that time, all my heroes were on the radio, and if I could just hear myself on the radio, mission accomplished. He's about to enter into a completely different jungle than I experienced, but he's going to do great."

THE VOICE -- Live Finale, Part 2 Episode 2220B -- Pictured: (l-r) Bryce Leatherwood, Bodie, Morgan Myles, Omar Jose Cardona -- (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/NBC via Getty Images)
Bryce Leatherwood and Blake Shelton. Nicole Weingart/NBC

Shelton added that he "wasn't as well-spoken as Bryce is" at 22.

"Bryce knows what he wants and what he wants to do — he's already doing it," he said. "I think 22-year-old Blake was still a little bit of a mess, but everything works out how it should."

In fact, Shelton said he "wouldn't change" a thing about his journey. "I mean, it's been an incredible ride," he said.

RELATED VIDEO: Blake Shelton on Rebalancing Life for Gwen Stefani and His 3 Stepsons: 'I Don't Want Any Regrets'

Since Leatherwood — who gets a Universal Music Group record deal and $100,000 grand prize with his Voice title — is just getting started on his own journey, Shelton said he told him, "Man, listen. There's going to be a lot of stuff getting thrown at you."

"I'm always here for him," he said. "He won the show and people love him and support him. Now he's got to make tough decisions going forward about what's best for him to get his music out to people that voted for him and then find the ones that don't even watch The Voice, which it's hard to imagine that there are those people out there. There must be something wrong with them!"

THE VOICE - “Live Finale Part 2” Bryce Leatherwood
Bryce Leatherwood and Blake Shelton. Trae Patton/NBC

With his grand prize money, Leatherwood said he's already planning to "save a lot."

"You never know what life can throw at you," he said. "I think I might spend a lot of money on my family for Christmas because they deserve it so much."

After hearing that, Shelton wrapped his arm around Leatherwood and joked, "I'm glad I'm like a brother to him."

Leatherwood previously spoke with PEOPLE after the live show on Nov. 22 about his close relationship with the country star.

"He's an incredible coach, and he's a great friend," he said. "He's definitely someone that I can relate to in a lot of ways, and he sees a lot of himself in me — at least I hope so."

"I hope to be something like him one day," he added. "I think I would be doing pretty good."

THE VOICE - “Live Finale Part 2” Bryce Leatherwood
Bryce Leatherwood. Trae Patton/NBC

Leatherwood grew up on his grandfather's farm in Woodstock, Georgia, riding tractors and listening to country music. A recent Georgia Southern University graduate, Leatherwood first made a name for himself — and paid the bills — playing music in the college bar scene.

In his blind audition, Leatherwood got three coaches to turn their chairs as he sang Shelton's version of "Goodbye Time" by Conway Twitty. After a tough deliberation, he ultimately chose Shelton as his coach.

Leatherwood started the Live Rounds as the instant save artist voted on by America to advance to the Top 13. He is the first-ever instant save artist to win The Voice.

RELATED VIDEO: Gwen Stefani on Why 'It's Good' for Her if Husband Blake Shelton Wins The Voice

Following his instant save, Leatherwood wowed the coaches and viewers with performances of songs like George Strait's "Amarillo by Morning," Morgan Wallen's "Sand in My Boots" and Justin Moore's "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" week after week.

With a Voice win now under his belt, Leatherwood thinks he'd be able to tackle Shelton's new USA network show Barmageddon next. In each episode, two celebrities compete against each other in five bar games.

"Michael Phelps, leave him alone," Leatherwood joked of his potential celebrity pairing.

Shelton, meanwhile, said he was going to suggest fellow country star Luke Bryan, but he "sucks at everything."

THE VOICE - “Live Finale Part 2” Bryce Leatherwood
Bryce Leatherwood. Nicole Weingart/NBC via Getty Images

In order to get to 10 Voice wins before his departure from the show, Shelton said he's going to do "whatever it takes" next season.

"Whatever lies I have to tell, whatever cheating has to happen as long as it passes the legal department of NBC, I'll push it as far as I can," he said. "I need that 10th trophy desperately. My house looks like s— without it. Who wants an odd number of trophies? Not me."

Shelton's wife and fellow Voice coach Gwen Stefani previously told PEOPLE that it "works out really good for me if [Blake Wins] because then I could be married to the guy that won 10 times."

With that reminder, Shelton said, "I want to dedicate this win to Gwen Stefani as a coach. How about that? Think that'll score me some points? Put it in parentheses!"

After a busy Voice season, Shelton said he's looking forward to spending Christmas in Oklahoma with his wife and family this year.

"Gwen and I are both excited about that," he said. "Literally, when we go back to Oklahoma for Christmas it's like we're in a Hallmark movie, which is incredible. We end up in the country, like 'My gosh, there's a snowstorm. We can't get out.' All of that. I'm addicted to those movies."

Though Shelton said he doesn't really "know how" how New Year's resolutions "work," his wish for 2023 is to hear Leatherwood on the radio.

"I'd like to be in my truck driving down the road listening to a country radio station and the DJ says, 'Up next is Bryce Leatherwood, the guy that just won The Voice,'" he said. "I want to hear that. I don't know if that's a resolution, but that's my wish."

As for Leatherwood, he'd like to "impact more people's lives with my music and with my personality" in 2023.

Aside from crowning its new winner, The Voice finale also featured performances by Kane Brown, Kelly Clarkson, Maluma OneRepublic, Adam Lambert, BRELAND and season 21 winners Girl Named Tom.

The Voice's live season 22 finale aired Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on NBC.

Related Articles