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Tessanne Chin is The Voice

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Senior staff reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 18, 2013    

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JUST as her coach Adam Levine had predicted at the blind auditions on September 24, Jamaican singer Tessanne Chin walked away with the top spot on the NBC talent show The Voice, last night, creating local music history in the process as the first Jamaican to ace the popular contest.

The curtains came down on the fifth season of the show with an emotional Chin singing in a hail of confetti, belting the Ryan Tedder-penned winner's song under the intense and emotional gaze of her mother Christine and husband Michael Anthony Cuffe Jr.

When host Carson Daly announced the winner at just before 11:00 pm, Jamaicans erupted in spontaneous applause and wild cheers.

Second spot went to 16-year-old Jacquie Lee, while Will Champlin picked up the third spot.

It was a night of great performances as the three finalists, 17 of the former contestants and recording artistes Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Paramore, Aloe Blacc and One Republic took to the stage.

Chin had the opportunity to sing with one of her favourite artistes, Grammy-winning star performer Dion.

Viewers were able to see an overwhelmed Chin as she found out that she would be performing with the artiste she had long idolised.

"I have looked up to her all my life," an emotional Chin said.

With her tears dried, Chin stepped onto the stage and the two delivered a masterful duet on Dion's Love Can Move Mountains.

Her other stint on stage saw her appearing with four former contestants — James Wolpert, Preston Pohl, Olivia Henken, and Grey — as they took on Sam and Dave's Hold On I'm Coming.

Chin's mother also shared the spotlight early in the live two-hour finale from Universal Studios in Los Angeles as she was interviewed by host Daly.

She reflected the hope of the nation when she was asked to share a few words with her daughter Tessanne. "We are so proud of her as a family and a nation — my dear Jamaica. Just keep being yourself [Tessanne]."

The Voice cameras also took viewers behind the scenes as Chin and her other two finalists, while on a tour of Universal Studios, were presented with new cars courtesy of Kia Motors.

In her final confessional, Chin noted that winning the competition was too much for her to imagine and she often just stopped short of hearing her name when she envisaged it in her mind. She praised her husband for sticking by her through the entire process and had nothing but great words for her coach, without whom she said she could not have got this far in the competition.

In addition to the prestigious title, Chin walks away with US$100,000 as well as a recording contract with the Universal Music Group. She will also work with Tedder in developing new music.

Last night in Jamaica, the celebration at Chin's family house in St Andrew was unbridled.

Applause, cheers and screams permeated the evening air. Some guests, overwhelmed by the moment, were seen crying.

"I can't even describe how I feel. We had expected it because we had hope, but this is beyond my wildest dream," said Priscilla Lee, a cousin of the singer. "What an awesome feeling!"

Marie Chin, Tessanne's aunt, was also ecstatic.

"I am so elated!" she said. "I am so relieved for her because I know the struggle... I know the work that she put in and I am glad that it is over."

She said she had no doubt her niece would have been victorious in the talent contest.

"Tessie is the voice," she added.

Last night, NBC late-night man Jay Leno announced that Tessanne would be performing on his show tonight. She is also expected

to appear on Access Hollywood today.

 Additional reporting by Brian Bonitto

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