CMA Awards 2018
Danielle Bradbery Wins 'The Voice'
A Texan teenager whose singing experience was limited to performing in her bedroom was crowned the winner of the fourth season of “The Voice” on Tuesday.
Danielle Bradbery, 16, from the Houston suburb of Cypress, Texas, bested two more experienced acts, the Swon Brothers and Michelle Chamuel, by sticking with a contemporary country music throughout the competition. Coach Adam Levine, who felt he had run out of accolades for the singer, predicted on Monday’s show she would win the competition.
In the final performance episode, she displayed considerable range in the genre, performing the Buddy Holly-inspired “Timber, I’m Falling in Love” with her coach Blake Shelton, reprising one of her best-received numbers from earlier in the season, Pam Tillis ‘Maybe It Was Memphis,” and concluding with the upbeat “Born to Fly,” a Sara Evans hit.
“I feel like that showed people all the vocals I can do,” Bradbery said about the song after Monday’s show. “It had everything – really powerful -- everything I could show.”
Her version of “Born to Fly” shot to No. 2 on iTunes after the show and held onto that slot throughout Tuesday, an early indicator that she was the favorite to win.
Sales of tracks on iTunes are counted as votes and early Tuesday, it was hard to tell who had the lead. Seven of the nine songs performed June 17 were among the biggest sellers on iTunes in the 12 hours after the conclusion of the penultimate show. Bradbery's "Born to Fly," Michelle Chamuel's "Why" and the Swon Brothers' "Danny's Song" were the leaders, but Bradbery’s three songs were in the top 11.
Even the lowest charting single, the Swons and coach Blake Shelton performing Brad Paisley's "Celebrity," was in the top 40, a far different story than the previous season when sizeable gaps existed between winner Cassadee Pope and her competition in the show's final two days.
During the season, Bradbery cracked the Hot 100 three times and Chamuel once; Chamuel, meanwhile, had five tracks make it into the Top Digital Songs chart compared to Bradbery's four.
Chamuel's version of Taylor Swift's" I Knew You Were Trouble" had the highest chart positions of any song by the three finalists, hitting No. 34 on Digital Songs and No. 85 on the Hot 100. Bradbery's version of Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis," which she reprised on June 17, reached No. 35 on digital songs, No. 92 on the Hot 100.
The Swon Brothers cracked the Digital Songs chart once, hitting No. 66 with George Jones' "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes."
Like Bradbery, Zach and Coulton Swon were coached by Shelton; Chaumel was under Usher’s tutelage. Bradbery told Billboard that Shelton had told her to be herself and “make the crowd love you even more.”
She credits Shelton with helping her come out of her shell, questioning her whether she wanted to become a performer now, having just completed her sophomore year in high school. Prior to “The Voice,” Bradbery would only sing for her best friend and if anyone else were present, she would hide behind an object or turn around to avoid eye contact. Her mother signed her up for the audition.
“She said you need to do something with that voice,” Bradbery recalls. “Let’s see what happens and if nothing else, you’ll just keep singing in your room.”