Why The Voice Winner Jake Hoot Is Grateful for Kelly Clarkson: 'You're the Biggest Cheerleader!'
"I continued to doubt myself and stuff like that and Kelly [Clarkson] continued to encourage me," Jake Hoot said
Hoot, 31, took home the trophy after winning season 17 of the hit singing competition The Voice Tuesday night. The Cookeville, Tennessee, resident impressed fans every week with his standout country sound, and he’s incredibly grateful for the support of his coach.
“She does a whole lot more than just sit there,” Hoot told reporters backstage after Clarkson nobly refused to take credit for his win. “She has helped me get out of my shell on stage and I say in every interview: You’re the biggest cheerleader and that means more than you know.”
“I really do appreciate it,” he added.
The country singer admitted that he struggled with self-doubt throughout the competition, but it was the support from Clarkson that helped him move forward. “From the get-go, for a little bit, I didn’t think it was real,” he said.
“Every step of the way, I’m like, ‘All right honey, I’ll be home next week’ or ‘I’ll be home after battles’ or ‘I’ll be home after knockouts’ and then at lives I was just like, ‘All right. I continued to doubt myself and stuff like that and Kelly continued to encourage me,” he added. “If I can say anything, it’s stop doubting yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Get out there and take a chance and there’s no telling what you can do.”
As for Clarkson — who has now successfully coached three contestants to victory — the Grammy-winner and talk show host wants Hoot to take all of the credit for his successful run on the show.
“Literally, it’s the biggest joke to me when people are like ‘Congratulations’ to me because I sat in a chair in what some might think is a cute dress and some might not,” she jokingly told reporters Tuesday night.
“But I just sat there and encouraged him. I’m a pretty good cheerleader because I love humans,” she continued.
“He did everything. I just got to be there and encourage them and push them in certain directions, or push them to be more than maybe they knew they had in them, but that’s all you bro, that’s not me,” she said to Hoot. “But I get the trophy too which is awesome.”
For Hoot, the best part of his victory is being able to return home to his family.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back and watching the girls open presents,” he said. “And having them sit on my lap in my recliner, and just relaxing.”