Clearwater-raised Juliet Simms places second on NBC's singing competition The Voice
In the end, a bug may have done her in.
Clearwater-raised singer Juliet Simms came within a hair of winning NBC's hit singing competition The Voice tonight, only to land in second place behind Jermaine Paul, a former backup singer for Alicia Keys.
But Simms, who was a favorite to win throughout the show, struggled with a cold over the weekend and hit the stage Monday having never rehearsed the songs she had to sing that night.
Though the show's superstar judges helped winnow a field of more than 70 singers down to the four finalists facing results Tuesday, the audience's votes alone determined the final winner. Simms, coached by R&B singer Cee Lo Green, expressed amazement at making the finals moments before results were announced, telling host Carson Daly "this is my childhood dream, and I'm standing here."
But Paul, who was mentored by country singer Blake Shelton, took home the big prize, a recording contract which could be worth millions; Daly said just 4 percent of the vote separated him from Simms. Operatic singer Chris Mann, championed by pop diva Christina Aguilera, placed fourth, while Tony Lucca, who appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club with Aguilera years ago, placed third.
Those results came in the final minutes of a two-hour final packed with filler, including cutesy videos on how the judges bicker with each other, a bit about the white cat green likes to stroke during his pre-taped interviews (called Purrfect, of course) and pre-taped comedy skits with castmembers from Parks and Recreation and Saturday Night Live.
Funny at it was to see Ron Swanson install a swiveling judges chair from The Voice in his office and watch SNL's Keenan Thompson play Green (he bragged of looking "like a villain in a James Bond movie directed by Tyler Perry."), such efforts more often felt like extended commercials for other NBC shows. Its a measure of how few series on this network draw a crowd, that so many promotions for other NBC shows had to be wedged into Tuesday's finale.
Still, it was fun to see Simms trade vocals with Miami rapper Flo Rida on a mashup of his singles Whistle and Wild Ones, and Paul rocked the house with a version of I Want You Back joined by three singers eliminated from the competition. '80s popsters Hall & Oates pulled the three male finalists onstage for backup vocals to their classic hit Rich Girl.
Regardless of Tuesday's result, Simms has made her mark in the music industry, poised for a higher-profile future after years of striving.
As second place prizes go, that's not half bad.