The Voice's Season 3 Finale: Surprise, Surprise...

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After the four-hour finale-fest, which featured maaaaybe forty minutes of actual relevant content tops (way to milk those cheap production costs, NBC), the winner of The Voice's third season was finally crowned and that winner was Team Blake’s Cassadee Pope. I’m sure we were all very surprised.

Not.

But despite the disappointing predictability of the final rounds—due largely to the rule where new iTunes sales = infinity points—I have to say, I liked the new approach for the purity of competition that it allowed. You know, outside of the iTunes problem which I hope will be refined when The Voice returns in March (though I doubt it will be). Bland, pretty Cassadee Pope is being hailed as The Voice’s Kelly Clarkson, and given her already present fanbase from the Hey Monday days combined with new recruits from The Voice, Pope stands poised to be the first winner of The Voice who we don’t forget about in two weeks. Way back in the beginning of the season, I predicted a Trevin Hunte/Amanda Brown showdown and maybe if we were playing by the old rules, it would have happened, but the lack of judge interference after the Knockout rounds and the cutthroat eliminations of the bottom two contestants, regardless of whose team they sang for, turned the subsequent live rounds into a true competition. Terry McDermott, Nicholas David, and Cassadee Pope were not simply the best singers on their respective teams—they were the best of the show's best PERIOD, as judged by America.

So as underwhelmed as I personally am with the outcome, I can’t fault Cassadee Pope for tapping into whatever it is that the legions of voters want in their champion... and okay, fine, her “Over You” cover was really quite fabulous and pretty much the only repeat performance of the night that I didn’t mind experiencing again.

That dress looks like it weighed a ton.

Team Weird Beard, Nicholas David, of Team Cee Lo, took the third-place spot and Scottish rocker Terry McDermott placed second, providing coach Blake Shelton with enough bragging rights to last him well into the new year and the new spring season, though my biggest concern heading into March is definitely whether Xtina’s replacement, Shakira, can carry on her fine tradition of wearing cheap wigs and increasingly batshit crazy costumes week after week.

But really, NBC, was four hours really necessary? I realize that everything is on hiatus right now, but isn’t there some sort of cheesy holiday special ya’ll could have dug up? With performances by an endless parade of former contestants, and established artists like Rihanna, The Killers, Smokey Robinson, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Peter Frampton, and Bruno Mars, AND an (admittedly enjoyable) collaboration on “Good Riddance” from our four judges, I was concerned that it would never end. We get it, NBC, The Voice is your shiny new ratings powerhouse, but a little self control would be nice. I recently perfected a mocha cupcake recipe and there are two dozen little cups of deliciousness just hanging out in my fridge saying, “Eat me! Eaaat me!” but if I eat all of them, I’ll probably hurl and even though they’ve been a huge hit at my significant other’s office and with my bar trivia team, if I ONLY made mocha cupcakes from now on, people would eventually get sick of them. Four hours of reality TV doesn’t have to be four hours of fluff... like this amazing trainwreck:

I have no words, other than LOL WUT.

All laughing aside, though, Monday’s tribute to the Sandy Hook shooting victims was touching and really quite beautiful in its simplicity and sincerity. Bravo, gang. I really mean that.

And so, Season 3 of The Voice drew to an utterly predictable close, complete with free Kias for our finalists and Cee Lo Green dressed as the funkiest Santa ever. Are you happy with how the finalists ranked? Where did your favorite end up?

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