‘The Voice’ Contestants: Then And Now
Do you remember these performers?
In 2011, America’s obsession with “American Idol” had somewhat faded, but a new singing competition show would soon debut and fill that void. NBC’s “The Voice” had a unique spin on the “American Idol” format: The judges couldn’t see the contestants or hear their life stories before giving them a spot on the show.
As the title suggested, it was all about the contestant’s voice.
In the 15 seasons that have aired so far, the show’s all-star judging panel has included Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson, among many others. The singers who became stars on “The Voice” haven’t all gone on to become recording superstars, but many of them are still working in the entertainment business today. Take a look at what some of the show’s biggest stars have been up to since their time on “The Voice” ended.
The winner of 2011’s first season of “The Voice,” Colon was a professional singer before auditioning for the new reality series. After winning the inaugural crown, thanks to his soulful performances as part of Adam Levine’s team, he was awarded $100,000 and a recording contract.
Since winning the show, Colon has released two albums. He had a falling out with his record label shortly after “The Voice” but revealed in an interview with Partnership for Strong Communities that the show was “the greatest thing that could have happened to me.” In 2018, the singer said he hopes to perform on Broadway.
The first season’s runner-up was a favorite of fans, being named the best reality-show personality of 2011 by Entertainment Weekly. Before appearing on the show, Frampton sang alongside her sister, Meg, in the band Meg & Dia.
Since “The Voice,” Frampton got signed to a record deal and has released two albums. Sadly, she said it led to a division between her and her sister. She has written songs for other artists, including M83, and also had a day job working at a health food store as of 2017.
In the crop of fine singers from season one of “The Voice,” reality TV fans may have already known Frenchie Davis best. The singer had already appeared on “American Idol” in 2003 and worked on Broadway in “Rent” before finishing in fifth place on “The Voice.”
Today, Davis remains an in-demand performer and has continued to work primarily in musical theater. She is revered for her big heart and is an advocate for LGBTQ rights. In 2017, she made headlines by helping a stranger boost his knitting business after seeing him working on a piece on a New York City subway.
Before even auditioning for “The Voice,” Jermaine Paul had already been nominated for two Grammys for songs he did with Alicia Keys. Paul’s smooth voice eventually led him to win season two of the show.
Ironically, Paul’s music career seemed to be bigger before he won “The Voice” than after. He has yet to release a solo album since his win but has continued to perform, including at his local church in Newburgh, New York.
Rocker Juliet Simms had a pretty successful career before “The Voice,” with her band Automatic Loveletter. She was a runner-up in the show’s second season.
She continued to write, record and perform after her run on the show, releasing her first full-length solo album, “From the Grave,” in 2016. That same year, a video of Simms and her husband having a drunken argument on an airplane went viral, which she has since said made her get sober.
The first woman to win “The Voice” has also been the show’s biggest success story so far. Country singer Cassadee Pope won the show’s third season as part of Blake Shelton’s team.
Since winning the show, Pope has become a legitimate star in Nashville, boasting a chart-topping album with 2013’s “Frame by Frame.” She’s toured with acts like Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley and was nominated for her first Grammy in 2017. That same year, she and her boyfriend called off their engagement after having been together for seven years.
Scottish rocker Terry McDermott finished second to Cassadee Pope during the third season of “The Voice.” During his time on the show, his recorded performances were popular downloads on the iTunes rock chart.
Before the show, he had already had a successful career singing for the bands Driveblind and Lotus Crush, the latter of which he reunited with after his time on “The Voice” to cut a new album in 2015. He continues to perform and released his long-awaited solo debut, “Beautiful Destruction,” in 2018.
In 2013, Danielle Bradbery became the youngest singer to win “The Voice,” up to that point, at only 16 years old. Her performances of songs by country heroes like Pam Tillis, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood wowed fans during the show’s fourth season.
Since winning the show, Bradbery has released two albums, both of which peaked in the top five of Billboard’s country album charts. She continues to tour and record music, even cutting a duet with country star Thomas Rhett in 2017. She told The Washington Post that year that growing up in the spotlight was tough, but that she’s glad to have more creative control over her career these days.
The Swon Brothers
The country-rock duo made up of brothers Zach and Colton Swon finished in third place during the fourth season of “The Voice.” The Oklahoma-born pair performed favorites from Tom Petty, Bob Seger and George Jones during their run.
Since their time on the show, the Swons released a self-titled album in 2014, which peaked at No. 6 on the charts. They’ve since toured with Carrie Underwood and released a new single in 2018. Also in 2018, Colton Swon married Caroline Glaser, a fellow contestant from season four of “The Voice.”
Before appearing on “The Voice” during the fourth season, Michelle Chamuel had already released albums as part of the group Ella Riot and as a solo performer. She ended up finishing second during the show.
Since her run on “The Voice,” Chamuel has released a pair of solo albums and has worked as a songwriter and producer. Chamuel has also worked with singer Mary Lambert, whom she’s been dating since at least 2014.
Tessanne Chin had already worked for years as a successful musician in her native Jamaica before competing in season five of “The Voice.” Chin ended up winning the season, becoming the first foreign-born singer to take the crown.
She released her first post-“Voice” album, “Count on My Love,” in 2014 and performed at the White House as part of the all-star “Women of Soul” concert that same year. She’s yet to release another album but has stayed active as a performer and philanthropist, including as part of Shaggy’s annual charity concert in Jamaica.
New Jersey native Jacquie Lee ended up finishing second to Tessanne Chin during the fifth season of “The Voice” in 2013 when she was just 15 years old. She was part of Christina Aguilera’s team and even sang one of her coach’s songs during her run.
Lee has yet to release a full-length album but has put out two EPs and plenty of singles during the years since her runner-up finish. In 2018, she made news by revealing that she had suffered from bulimia in the years since her time on “The Voice.” She has said that therapy helped her come to grips with it after the condition caused her to fall during a performance in 2017.
Louisiana singer Cole Vosbury was a favorite to win during season five of “The Voice.” Among the eclectic songs he sang during his run on the show were Toto’s “Africa,” Vince Gill’s “I Still Believe in You” and the theme song from TV’s “The Jeffersons.”
Of his fourth-place finish, Vosbury told the Shreveport Times it was the best thing that could have happened because he wasn’t locked into a record contract and could pursue a career his own way. He’s yet to release a solo album but has continued to perform as part of the duo The Lovers.
Proving that reality singing shows don’t have to be a young person’s game, soul singer Josh Kaufman won the sixth season of “The Voice” at the age of 38. His most popular performances included Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” and John Legend’s “All of Me.”
Kaufman has since performed on Broadway and released his debut solo EP in 2016. The Indiana native continues to perform with his band, The New Etiquette, and has plans to release an album in 2018.
Singer Christina Grimmie had a dedicated YouTube following and had already released an album by the time she auditioned for “The Voice” in 2014. She ended up finishing in third place during the show’s sixth season, wowing viewers with performances of songs by Drake, Lil Wayne and Miley Cyrus.
Unfortunately, Grimmie’s story has the most tragic ending of any contestant from “The Voice.” In 2016, as her career was taking off, she was shot and killed while signing autographs after a performance in Orlando, Florida. The 22-year-old singer had an album released after her death and continues to be remembered by fans.
Craig Wayne Boyd
In 2014, country singer Craig Wayne Boyd won the crown of season seven of “The Voice.” The native Texan kept it country from start to finish, singing hits from Johnny Cash, George Strait and Merle Haggard, among others.
Immediately after winning the show, Boyd made history on the Billboard charts by having his single, “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face,” become only the second song in the history of the Hot Country Songs chart to debut at No. 1. Boyd released a long-awaited album in October 2017 and has continued to debut singles from it since then.
Singer-songwriter Matt McAndrew wowed the judges and fans of “The Voice” on his way to a runner-up finish during season seven. While on the show, his single, “Wasted Love,” became the highest-charting song from the show ever on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 14.
Since then, McAndrew released an EP called “Rush in Slowly,” which Yahoo called “wonderful.” In a 2016 poll of about 800 fans of the show, McAndrew was voted the best male contestant to not win “The Voice” crown.
At the age of 17, Louisiana-born Koryn Hawthorne rode her powerful performances of everyone from Ariana Grande to James Brown all the way to a fourth-place finish during season eight of “The Voice.” Not winning the show didn’t hurt her, though, as she was signed to a record deal immediately.
Hawthorne has since become a star in the gospel music world. In 2018, her debut album, “Unstoppable,” topped Billboard’s gospel albums chart and she made history when her single, “Won’t He Do It,” was No. 1 for its 26th week on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart.
In 2015, 16-year-old Sawyer Fredericks tied with Danielle Bradbery as the youngest “Voice” winner (both would be beat out by Brynn Cartelli, who won season 14 at age 15). With the help of coach Pharrell Williams, his recorded performances burned up the iTunes chart, including his takes on songs by Goo Goo Dolls, Al Green and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Fredericks has stayed busy since winning the show, releasing two albums since 2016. In 2018, he launched a tour to support his newest album and filmed a music video at a historic theater in Gloversville, New York, where he performed before being on the show.
Country singer Meghan Linsey had already achieved some success before finishing second during season eight of “The Voice” in 2015. She had a hit song with her duo Steel Magnolia in 2009 before they split up.
Since her run on the show, Linsey has continued to perform as an independent artist but hasn’t yet released a full-length solo album. In 2017, she made headlines by kneeling in protest against police brutality after singing the national anthem at an NFL game. She said she feels like country artists are “so censored” in terms of their personal views.
Kentucky native Jordan Smith took his powerful performances all the way to winning the crown of 2015’s season nine of “The Voice.” While on the show, he made history by being the first contestant to have a recorded performance from “The Voice” hit No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart.
Since winning the show, Smith’s career has taken off, with him releasing three albums since 2016. His biggest moment so far came when a song he wrote, “Ashes,” was performed by Celine Dion as part of the soundtrack for “Deadpool 2.” In 2016, he married his longtime girlfriend.
Emily Ann Roberts
Teenage country singer Emily Ann Roberts finished as runner-up to Jordan Smith during “The Voice” season nine. Her performances included a duet of “Islands in the Stream” with her coach, Blake Shelton.
She’s since finished school and has been hard at work recording her debut album in Nashville. Her first single, “Stuck On Me + You,” was released in 2018.
Before winning season 10 of “The Voice” in 2016, Alisan Porter had already put together an impressive career in the entertainment business. Aside from singing, she had worked as a child actor, starring in the 1991 film “Curly Sue” at the age of 10.
After winning, Porter took the unusual step of declining the record deal that comes along with it. She has continued to perform and release new singles but has yet to put out an album.
Country singer Adam Wakefield wound up finishing second during season 10 of “The Voice” in 2016. During his run, Wakefield performed songs by country icons like Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill and even Blake Shelton, who was his coach.
Since then, Wakefield released a self-titled EP in 2017. He wrote many of the record’s songs himself and described it as a way of reintroducing himself to the world.
Mary Sarah had already been working as a professional singer since the age of 12, well before her time on “The Voice” in 2016. She had toured with Kidz Bop as a child and even released three albums, all before her fifth-place finish during season 10.
Sarah hasn’t released a new record since her time on the show but has said she is working on new music in Nashville. After being on “The Voice,” Sarah has been invited to perform at the legendary Grand Ole Opry several times.
Viewers of “American Idol” probably remembered Sundance Head when they saw him on “The Voice” during 2016’s season 11. He was a semi-finalist on “Idol” in 2007 but ended up winning “The Voice” nearly a decade later.
Since winning the show, Head has not put out a full-length record but released new music in October 2018. He’s stayed busy performing and working on that album, about which he told Alaska’s Daily News-Miner he didn’t just want a rushed, hit album but one “I could really stand behind as an artist.”
Teen soul singer Wé McDonald ran all the way to a third-place finish during season 11 of “The Voice.” During her time on the show, she wowed fans and judges with performances of songs by legends like Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.
McDonald has stayed very busy since her time on “The Voice,” touring, recording a new album and publishing a children’s book. In 2018, the North Jersey Record started chronicling McDonald’s unlikely rise to stardom in an eight-part podcast series.
When Chris Blue won season 12 of “The Voice” in 2017, he made history by being the first winner of the show to not appear until the final blind-audition episode of the season. The then-26-year-old singer became a favorite with performances of songs by Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Bruno Mars, among others.
Blue has yet to release a full-length album since his big win but he put out two singles in 2017 and expects to release more music in 2019. The soulful singer has continued to tour in the meantime.
In 2017, Lauren Duski was the runner-up to Chris Blue when season 12 of “The Voice” came to an end. She nailed songs by Jewel, Bryan White and Little Big Town during her run to second place.
In summer 2018, Duski released her debut single, “Costume Party,” as well as a music video that was described by People magazine as “empowering.” She has been performing around the country as fans await a full-length album.
As part of Blake Shelton’s team, rocker Chloe Kohanski won season 13 of “The Voice” in 2017. Her performances of songs by classic artists like Fleetwood Mac, Blondie and Foreigner made her a fan favorite all season.
In 2018, Kohanski released her first post-“Voice” single, “Come This Far,” from an album that’s expected to come out in 2019. After her win on the show, Shelton said he believes Kohanski could become the show’s “first superstar.” No pressure!
Originally published on The Delite.