TIME Television

Spoiler Alert! Who Is the Season 7 Winner of The Voice?

The Voice - Season 7
Craig Wayne Boyd, Matt McAndrew, Carson Daly, Damien Lawson and Chris Jamison, left to right, on the set of The Voice on Nov. 16, 2014 Trae Patton—NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Only one star could walk away with The Voice title

The stage lit up as Jennifer Hudson and Jessie J serenaded the crowd with number one hits during The Voice Season 7 finale Tuesday night, but all eyes were on the four finalists who sang beside them, battling it out to win the competition.

Matt McAndrew, Damien Lawson and Chris Jamison of Team Adam Levine and Craig Wayne Boyd of Team Blake Shelton sang their hearts out from the start of the blind auditions down to the moment the winner was revealed.

In the end, only one star could walk away with The Voice title and it was Craig Wayne Boyd from Team Blake.

Boyd, the 35-year-old singer from Nashville, Tennessee, hooked the country’s vote and proved he had what it took to become America’s next musical superstar after belting “Sweet Home Alabama” on stage with the iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd.

“There has never been a more deserving person to hold that trophy than Craig Wayne Boyd,” Shelton said after the show as he stood next to Boyd.

On Monday night, Boyd awed America as he performed original song “My Baby’s Got a Smile On Her Face” – gifted to him by his coach.

Shelton had been “carrying the song around in his back pocket for years” not knowing what to do with it, and even admitted that he didn’t record it himself because of the difficulty level.

“You know, looking back, I don’t know if I’m really one of those guys that believes in meant to be’s,” said Shelton, about the song. “This may have been one.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

TIME Music

Italy’s Singing Nun Gives Pope Francis Her ‘Like a Virgin’ Cover

Vatican Pope Singing Nun
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L' Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis greets Sister Cristina Scuccia as she presents him with her CD at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Dec. 10, 2014 AP

This nun feels "touched for the very first time" (by God)

Italy’s famed singing nun met Pope Francis this week and brought him a gift: a copy of her first album.

Sister Cristina Scuccia, who won the Italian version of The Voice in June, presented the Pontiff with her debut CD during his general audience on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. The album’s tracks include her ballad-like take on Madonna’s pop classic “Like a Virgin.”

Though some members of the Catholic establishment have criticized the nun for the saucy track, Scuccia told the Guardian last month that she saw her version as a religious interpretation of the 1984 hit. In the original, Madonna croons that someone — ostensibly a new lover, but who knows, since Madonna never clarifies that it isn’t God — makes her feel “touched for the very first time.”

“I’m giving it a new interpretation from a faith standpoint,” Scuccia said. “We can all feel incomplete. I felt that when I was touched by God, then I felt loved like I’ve never been loved before.”

Scuccia also told the Guardian that her next big goal was to speak with, and perhaps even sing for, the Pope.

“I’d love to give him a copy of my album,” she said presciently.

TIME Music

Watch a Totally Different Take on Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ From Last Night’s Episode of The Voice

By a self-described "Amish hipster"

Last night on The Voice, Taylor John Williams, a contestant who proudly describes his personal style as “Amish hipster,” decided to take on Taylor Swift’s recent single “Blank Space.” This wasn’t super surprising, as it’s kind of Williams’ thing to perform new, soulful takes on pop and hip hop songs. In his initial audition, for example, he sang Kanye West’s “Heartless,” and he’s also taken on Lorde’s “Royals.”

Still, though, it was interesting to hear a different arrangement of Swift’s infectious hit. He slows it down, turning it into more of a ballad than a catchy pop tune. Also, when he sings the lyric “got a long list of ex-lovers,” you can actually hear what’s saying, and it doesn’t sound like “Starbucks lovers,” so that’s something.

Granted, this was certainly not Williams’ best performance (we prefer his rendition of “Mad World,” for example) but props to him for taking on Tay-Tay.

TIME Music

Gwen Stefani: I Don’t Regret the Harajuku Girls At All

Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani performs at KIIS FM's Jingle Ball on Dec. 5, 2014, in Los Angeles. John Shearer—Invision/AP

"You can look at it from a negative point of view if you want to, but get off my cloud," the singer tells TIME

Between three kids, a coaching stint on The Voice and a solo music comeback, Gwen Stefani is keeping herself busy. So busy, in fact, that the No Doubt front woman had to lock herself in her bathroom to find a quiet moment away from her children during our interview. TIME caught up with the singer — just a few hours before she performed her new single, “Spark the Fire,” with Pharrell at KIIS FM’s Jingle Ball — to talk about her upcoming album (due next year), Pharrell’s recent comments about feminism and what’s up next for No Doubt.

TIME: How did this third record come about? Were you itching to make another? Was Pharrell just sending you beats until you agreed?
Gwen Stefani: We were doing a No Doubt record — we did it, we put it out, and as soon as we came back from Europe in January, we decided, “Let’s go back into the studio.” The record had taken so long to make because all of our parental commitments and lifestyles, and because of the way we work. It’s my fault, but I get really lazy around those guys. We were working within the band and didn’t have any collaborators, so it just took a long time. We went back in the studio and worked for about six months, and I think the last session that we did was with Pharrell. It was six months of struggle. It wasn’t coming really naturally. I got pregnant unexpectedly, and it was a good time to take a break. I didn’t even know that I was going to have another baby, but it was such a miracle. Hold on one second, my other kid is here.

No problem!
My son’s tooth just came out — sorry. They just got home from school. [To her son in the background: Go put this under your pillow!] I’m going to go in my bathroom so I can lock myself in there, hold on one second.

Happy to wait.
Are you there still?

Yes!
Okay, so, we decided not to do any more work because I was pregnant — I was so sick. I didn’t know that was going to happen, and then I had the baby, and then four weeks later Pharrell called me to do Coachella. My kids were such a fan of him at the time because “Happy” was at the top of the charts. He was like, “Do you want to come do it?” I was like, “I want to! I’ll wear a black jumpsuit, I’ll be fine!” The first time I had left the house after giving birth was to step on stage and do “Hollaback Girl” with Pharrell. It was just magical. Then I found out a week later I was going to do The Voice, and I had no idea that was going to happen.

When that happened, the opportunity came up — maybe I should put something out, even if it’s a collaboration, or hop on someone’s record. Pharrell kept asking me to do “Hollaback Girl,” and I was like, “I’m not going to keep doing the same song from 10 years ago!” The only way to do that would be to not do it with No Doubt, because we take forever. I just starting thinking about having an open-ended thing: let’s just see how far we get. I hooked up with Benny Blanco, who I’d been working with possibly to do some No Doubt stuff earlier during that time period. He got all these different writers together — Charli XCX, Ryan Tedder, Calvin Harris. I started hanging out with Pharrell and we went into the studio.

I wanted to put a record out quick, like, I don’t want to think about it! Now, maybe I need to spend a little more time on it and not rush it. I’m going to continue to write a little bit. It’s been this weird surprise, doing new music. With the first solo records, I had a very clear plan of what they would be that was very distinct to that time period. Now it’s open-ended. I went in and did mood boards, a visual mood board of what it would be and started that way. With music, you sometimes just can’t really predict it.

On Love. Angel. Music. Baby., you sang about the fear of going solo. And then on the follow-up, The Sweet Escape, you sang about feeling guilty for doing it again.
Because of No Doubt or because of my kids? I can feel guilty about so many things.

Because of No Doubt — you had that line, “Only one solo / I swore.” Do you still have that little voice of hesitation inside your head?
There was a little bit, because I have so many different hats that I wear. I have my own life, I have my life as a wife, as a mother, as the singer of No Doubt, I’m on The Voice, and then I have all of my fashion designing things that I do. I’m always feeling like, am I giving enough to that? Am I giving enough to that? I just have to follow my instincts. When I did The Sweet Escape, I knew that I needed to do that. If you’re not inspired to do something, nothing comes. When I was about to do that second record, I did feel, “Should I go back and do another No Doubt record?” Everybody was waiting for me to do that, meaning my band. I just didn’t feel ready to do that music-wise, because I still wanted to do quirky dance music.

This time, that wasn’t even a option. It was either no new music and do The Voice or do some more dance music and just be free and see what happens. It wouldn’t be an option to do No Doubt because there was was no time! I had a baby, and then eight weeks later I was shooting the campaign for The Voice. It was very quick and unexpected. No Doubt has a bunch of stuff that we’ve worked on, and we’re going to see where we go next. It’s interesting, because it’s not one or the other. No Doubt doesn’t have to be on a complete hiatus for me to do new music on my own. It can happen simultaneously.

When Love. Angel. Music. Baby. came out 10 years ago, it didn’t sound like anything else out there. “Spark the Fire” is the same way — how do you pick sounds that still seem fresh years later?
That is such a flattering, sweet compliment, but I obviously don’t think about that. When you’re going in, you’re just thinking about what’s going to come out. Pharrell is a genius. He’s not scared, and he is only interested in doing something that’s different from what’s out there, in a really dangerous, punk rock kind of way. I just love being around him, because he’s such a purist, and he’s competitive in such a positive, creative, artful way. Just being around his energy puts me in a whole new chapter. He’s just been so supportive of me, and I don’t understand it. I’m like, “You’re the biggest, most incredibly talented, forward, modern producer-songwriter-artist of our generation! And I get to hang out with you and piggyback on all your success?” I’m so happy about it. He’s so generous and just wants me to do that.

He presented two songs to me that he wrote, and they were so weird and crazy. I was like, “But I really want something hard” — I don’t remember saying that, but he says that’s what I said. He came into my trailer at The Voice and was like, “I gotta play this!” He was crazy about it. We were meant to be going on [stage], and he’s like, “I don’t care!” He’s setting his Beats Pill up. “It has to have bass in it, if you’re going to hear it!” He plays me this song, and it was the beat for “Spark the Fire.” I was like, “That’s it, that’s it, we’re going to go in.” It sounded like a really good idea that morning, but by the end of the day, it was like, “Are we really going to the studio right now?” We went in and wrote that song. It’s so weird. Come on! I mean, it has this weird intro, this weird bridge, the lyrics are all over the place. It’s perfectly a mashup of us together, and it totally defines where I’m at.

Pharrell says this song is about feminism, which I’m not sure I get.
He calls it a feminist anthem. I would never call it that! Because it’s just not. That’s what he sees in me — I don’t see that. I see it as a personal song that is a really positive message about don’t mess with my vibe. I’m going to be up here, don’t bring me down. Get off my cloud, because no one’s going to take me away from this positivity. If I don’t do any other songs in this moment in my life, this one is definitely a good one to define this period. That’s all I can ask for. I just feel more grateful than ever if anyone pays attention. The longer that you have a career, the more precious you are about it, the more grateful you get, the more you realize that at any point it’s going to be gone. You don’t let one minute tick by where you’re not grateful for anyone listening to your song or getting joy out of that.

Looking back on Love. Angel. Music. Baby., do you regret the Harajuku Girls given the criticism you received?
No. There’s always going to be two sides to everything. For me, everything that I did with the Harajuku Girls was just a pure compliment and being a fan. You can’t be a fan of somebody else? Or another culture? Of course you can. Of course you can celebrate other cultures. That’s what Japanese culture and American culture have done. It’s like I say in the song [“Harajuku Girls”]: it’s a ping-pong match. We do something American, they take it and they flip it and make it so Japanese and so cool. And we take it back and go, “Whoa, that’s so cool!” That’s so beautiful. It’s a beautiful thing in the world, how our cultures come together. I don’t feel like I did anything but share that love. You can look at it from a negative point of view if you want to, but get off my cloud. Because, seriously, that was all meant out of love.

And the girls themselves, it was just a magical thing to get to know them. They were dancers that were cast, but they became real. One girl was a Japanese girl that grew up in L.A., and she got to hang around with three different Japanese girls that were from different places in Japan and had different backgrounds. They became best friends, and she got to go to Japan and see her heritage and see how we are all the same. And I got to hang out with girls for the first time.

TIME Music

Watch Gwen Stefani’s Kaleidoscopic ‘Baby Don’t Lie’ Video

The singer has some green-screen fun

Gwen Stefani just released her solo comeback single “Baby Don’t Lie” yesterday, but she’s already delivered the kaleidoscopic video, directed by longtime collaborator Sophie Muller. The clip is appropriately colorful for the stylish pop star, but it must have been a bore to shoot for Stefani, who probably had to spend a couple hours rolling around on the floor and strutting back and forth in front of a green screen. No wonder the singer checks her iPhone halfway through. (Kidding! It’s probably product placement.)

Wisely, Stefani chose not to reunite the Harajuku Girls for the video’s big alleyway dance-off.

TIME Television

Christina Aguilera’s Return to The Voice Doesn’t Make Sense

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans on Friday, May 2, 2014. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP) Barry Brecheisen—Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP

The pop star returns home, but her over-the-top image has never fit in on reality TV

There’s nothing like the original. Christina Aguilera, one of the inaugural coaches on NBC’s The Voice, is to return to the show next season following a maternity leave, replacing substitute judge Gwen Stefani. Pharrell Williams is to remain in place as a judge following the departure of Cee Lo Green.

It’s a boon for Aguilera, since a (rotating) seat at the table is a powerful promotional opportunity for any artist; it’s helped Williams, already famous for songs like “Happy,” become better known as a personality, and has further vitalized the careers of fellow coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. But Shelton and Levine’s act was scaled for a reality show. The two of them seem, for all their success and recording-industry experience, like pals that might very well come over for a beer. Something has never quite connected with Aguilera, who in her early years on the show was better known for baroque costumes than for a “likable” personality. Aguilera, pouting and vamping as her co-stars tossed jokes over her head, failed to do what Jennifer Lopez, a female pop star as iconic as Aguilera herself, had managed on American Idol — to seem approachable.

There’s great camp value in Aguilera’s self-consciousness as she fans herself or purses her lips in response in reply to a performance; she has the awareness of the camera’s gaze that befits a pop star who’s been making hits since she was a teen. But her fun staginess isn’t in line with the chill, lo-fi characteristics that tend to make a relatable star. Perhaps that’s why, unlike Shelton and Levine, Aguilera’s been unable to convert her time on a huge hit show into commercial success; she’d previously taken a season off, in 2013, to promote her album Lotus, widely perceived as a commercial failure.

Aguilera has always been a bizarre fit for a show whose very conceit is that vocal performance is more important than image. The pop star’s own performances on the show (contestants aside, the coaches are and always have been the stars of The Voice) were competent if poorly judged in just how much she deployed her signature melisma. They were also reliant on costuming and weird spectacle to the point of incoherence. Aguilera’s Voice performances, like her duet with Lady Gaga, suffer from a labored-over diva act that runs entirely counter to the earthiness and humility of the aspirant singers on The Voice. Perhaps her time away will have brought her back to earth.

TIME Television

Singing Nun Becomes Winner Of Italy’s ‘The Voice’

Sister Cristina Scuccia has won the final of Italy's version of 'The Voice'

Singing sensation Sister Cristina, who garnered millions of YouTube views, has won the final of The Voice of Italy and a contract with Universal Music.

Dressed in a nun’s habit and wearing a crucifix, 25-year-old Sister Cristina Scuccia said her win was “not up to me, it’s thanks to the man upstairs!” before reciting the Lord’s Prayer, the BBC reports.

The young nun quickly became an Internet superstar after her first appearance on The Voice. Her cover of Alicia Keys’ song “No-One” has attracted over 50 million views on YouTube alone. However, Sister Cristina suggested she wouldn’t let fame go to her head, saying that she was happy to return to singing with children in her chapel in Milan.

Sister Cristina, a reformed rebel who has become incredibly popular in predominantly Catholic Italy, said she was following Pope Francis’ advice to make Catholicism more accessible to ordinary people. In her first audition in March she told judges, “I have a gift and I am giving it to you.”

Her gift wasn’t lost on Whoopi Goldberg, star of comic film Sister Act, who tweeted a link to Sister’s Cristina’s audition writing, “for when you want a taste of sister act!” In subsequent appearances Sister Cristina covered Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”.

Sister Cristina, a native of Sicily, decided to become a nun after auditioning for a musical about the founder of the Ursuline Order, Saint Angela Medici, the Telegraph reports. She became a novice in 2009 though she has yet to take her final vows.

[BBC]

TIME Television

Gwen Stefani Confirms She’ll Join NBC’s The Voice

There's No Doubt the singer will make a fine replacement for Shakira on the talent show

Shakira is out and Gwen Stefani is in as coach on NBC’s hit reality singing show The Voice.

Stefani will join veterans Adam Levine and Blake Shelton along with other newcomer Pharrell Williams, who is stepping in for Usher.

Former coach Christina Aguilera broke the news on Twitter, welcoming Stefani to her “crazy fam.”

Aguilera left the show to give birth to her first child with husband Matthew Rutler. The new coaches will break in their spinning chairs this fall on the show’s seventh season.

TIME Television

Gwen Stefani Confirms She’s Joining The Voice

The No Doubt frontwoman confirmed the rumors that she'll be taking over for Christina Aguilera on NBC's singing competition show in a very modern way, via Instagram. Aguilera has taken a break from the show while she awaits the birth of her second child

Gwen Stefani confirmed with an Instagram on Tuesday that she will be joining the cast of NBC’s singing competition The Voice.

The No Doubt frontwoman was rumored to take over for judge Christina Aguilera, who is taking a break from the show while she expects the birth of her daughter with fiancé Matt Rutler.

Earlier in the day, Aguilera also confirmed the news on Twitter. “Welcome to our crazy fam!” she wrote to Stefani.

Stefani will be joining judges Blake Shelton and Adam Levine as well as fellow newcomer Pharrell Williams, who is taking over for departing judge CeeLo Green. The “Happy” hitmaker and Stefani recently reunited at the Coachella music festival to perform their 2004 hit “Hollaback Girl.”

Now if only she can clear up those rumors about a third solo album.

TIME Television

Pharrell to Replace Cee Lo Green on The Voice

This news should make some viewers "Happy"

Singer Pharrell Williams will be joining the cast of The Voice as a new coach, NBC announced.

Williams will be replacing Cee Lo Green for the seventh season of the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Green told Ellen DeGeneres that he wants to concentrate on other musical projects.

This year, Williams has made an even bigger name for himself due to the popularity of his Oscar-nominated song “Happy,” and his collaboration with Daft Punk for the Grammy-winning recording of “Get Lucky.”

Williams has served as a guest mentor for Usher in the fourth season of the show. “He has already made a considerable impact as a mentor, drawing on an impressive track record as both a producer and performer,” said president of alternative and late night programming for NBC Entertainment Paul Telegdy. “It is a perfect fit for The Voice as we evolve and reach for new heights with this franchise. It feels like we are welcoming an existing family member home.”

The other coaches on The Voice will be announced at a later date.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

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