The on-the-rise star, who was just crowned on Dec. 17, will attend her first-ever parade

By Mariah Haas
Updated December 31, 2013 12:45 PM
Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC

Tessanne Chin, who has never been to a parade of any kind, is certainly making her first one count.

The season five winner of The Voice will join fellow finalists Jacquie Lee and Will Champlin as featured performers at the 125th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.

“We found out the last two weeks of the competition that they requested that the top three [perform], and [I’m] excited,” Chin, 28, tells PEOPLE. “I’ve never even been to a parade, much less a part of it, so I’m like a little kid!”

The trio will perform Chin’s single “Tumbling Down” while standing on top of a Voice-themed floral float.

“It’s all so surreal. I can tell you a secret – I didn’t know what the Rose Parade was before, because I don’t really live here [in Los Angeles]. I [knew] about the Macy’s Day,” the Jamaica native confesses.

“They told me [the float] was like 13 feet in the air, and I don’t deal well with heights,” she admits. But she is thrilled to be on the first reality-show float ever in the parade. “It’s a huge honor, so we really want to represent it well,” she says.

Asked how winning The Voice has changed her life, Chin says she keeps pinching herself.

“I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but there are literally moments where I go, ‘Oh my God, this is happening,’ and it takes my breath away,” she says. “People notice me here now, which never used to be the case. It’s never been like that before where I have to plan when I go to the supermarket or certain things because it’s just a bit much. It gets crowded real quick.”

One person Chin hopes to see soon is her Voice coach, Adam Levine.

“The last time I saw Adam was at the wrap party, and he just hugged me and was like, ‘Tess, if you ever need anything, you just call me. You reach out to me. We’re here for you no matter what. Team Adam is not just Team Adam on the show. It’s Team Adam for life,’ ” she says. “He’s been very gracious, but he’s also a very busy guy.”

She adds: “I would love to be able to collaborate with him on this album that we’re working on. To have the opportunity to sing with him again would be amazing.”

The 125th Rose Parade will air on NBC from Pasadena, Calif., on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT.