We’ve reached the end of Season 3 – the season we weren’t even expecting to happen right now until NBC announced it a few months ago – and as always, I’m full of mixed emotions. I’m excited to see who you’ve voted as the winner, but I’m also sad because that means another chapter in the Voice saga, and in my life by extension, is coming to an end.
As we all wait to hear Carson Daly announce the final results, I think it’s worth reminding ourselves that we’re discussing more than just a TV show. Yes, it is a TV show, and there will be a winner, because there has to be. Yet when you’re sitting at home it’s easy to forget that it’s not about who wins or who loses. The show is merely the public venue to launch (or even relaunch) the hopes and dreams of these hardworking, talented artists. We’re not just talking about our entertainment, but their passion and their livelihood.
I think about Season 1 champ Javier Colon, who told me the night he won that if it weren’t for The Voice, he would be doing something other than music. I think about Erin Willett dealing with the loss of her father and still going on to be a semifinalist in Season 2. I think about Tony Lucca getting national recognition for how hard he works every day. I think about Jamar Rogers having one more platform to help other people. I’ve heard so many stories about how The Voice has made someone’s quality of life better.
And if I may, I’d like to share with you one of my stories.
As frequent readers might know, eleven years ago I buried my childhood best friend. His name was John Machado and he was fifteen years old. He was also the sweetest person that you could have ever hoped to meet. John never had a negative word to say about anyone and he never let anything get him down. Most importantly, he was always in my corner. John was my biggest cheerleader. He was the first person to believe in me and he always wanted to be a part of everything I was doing. When I was around him, his energy was contagious. He was always so happy just to be alive, until he was killed by a reckless driver.
I loved him like a brother but I never quite noticed what I had until he was gone. His death left a void in my heart that I never thought would be filled. Then I came to work on The Voice last year, and then I met Adam Levine.
Adam reminds me of John in so many ways – the most significant being that he brought that positive energy back into my life. When I’m around him, I can’t help but smile. I have someone standing there who believes in me no matter what. Someone who thinks I’m amazing. Someone who makes me feel excited about life. I’m always going to care about John, but Adam filled that hole in my heart, and made me able to let go of my grief after all these years. If I’m constantly hoping to cross paths with him, it’s because each moment we share is like having my old friend beside me again.
I know that if John could see me now, he’d be proud of me, and excited for everything I’ve accomplished. I also know that he would be glad that I’ve been able to make peace with his death and move forward. That’s something I had tried to do for a decade and never figured out until The Voice.
So as we name a winner tonight, I’d ask you not to think about whether it’s the ‘right’ person or waste too much time complaining about your favorite being eliminated however long ago. Let’s think about all these folks, and how far they’ve come since we met them in blind auditions, and all the moments we’ve gotten to share with them along the way. That’s what really makes this show important. That’s what makes us a Voice family. And it’s going to last much longer than tonight.
Until next time, never be afraid to find your voice,