Congratulations, Chloe Kohanski!
The fan favorite contestant of season 13 — known for her unique sound and style — was crowned the winner of The Voice on Tuesday.
The star-studded evening featured performances by Bastille, Vince Gill, Jessie J, Norah Jones, Bebe Rexha, Sia and last year’s Voice winner Chris Blue. Kohanski was paired up with one of her idols, Billy Idol, to perform “White Wedding,” and it couldn’t have been a better match.
Kohanski has made a name for herself on the show by belting out classic ’80s and ’90s rock songs week after week. Some of the 23-year-old Nashville native’s performance highlights include Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Blondie’s “Call Me” and Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.” (Two of which earned her the No. 1 spot on the iTunes chart.)
At the beginning of the competition, her rendition of Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide” earned her a No. 12 spot and became the highest-ranking song on iTunes among The Voice artists during the knockout rounds. Kohanski’s success on the charts combined with her unforgettable performances made her confident in her status as a frontrunner this season.
“It’s crazy, but I feel like I could win,” she told reporters in November. “I don’t feel like there has ever really been anyone like me, and I’m starting to realize that. Not in a cocky way, but in a very humbling way. I used to think that it made me less relevant or held me back but for the first time it’s pushing me forward.”
Despite all of her success, Kohanski’s journey to the top almost didn’t happen. After getting a three-chair turn from Miley Cyrus, Shelton and Jennifer Hudson during the blind auditions, she picked Cyrus because she said she has always been a fan of the star. In the knockout rounds, though, Cyrus chose to let Kohanski go in order to keep former contestant Ashland Craft on her team. This gave Shelton the opportunity to steal Kohanski for his team.
“Jennifer and Blake pushed their buttons to try to steal me, and instantly I was like, ‘I’m from Nashville, I got Southern roots,’” she said. “Blake looked at me and he was like, ‘Do you like to win?’ Him saying that, I was like, ‘He believes that I could win,’ so then I picked him. I think it’s a really weird yin-yang pairing, and he just lets me do my thing.”
Now the winner of a record deal with Universal Music Group, Kohanski said she’ll continue her efforts to bring “rock n’ roll and classic rock into pop culture.”
And as for what she’ll do with the $100,000 grand prize?
“If I’m being honest, I probably would buy some clothing,” Kohanski joked. “But also I would probably take that money and invest it in being able to record whenever I wanted in my home. I’ve always lived in Nashville, off the same road [for] literally 23 years, so maybe [I’ll move] and invest in starting a life for myself.”