The Voice ended it’s eleventh season last night, and left us with an unexpected victor in Sundance Head over season-long favorite Billy Gilman.


Team Adam Levine went into last night’s finale with two contestants still standing – Gilman and country singer Josh GallagherAlicia Keys was represented by 17-year-old powerhouse Wé McDonald and Blake Shelton by Head. Miley Cyrus was the only judge left unspoken for in the final four.

While Gilman was always depicted as a favorite on the show, it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that Head took the top prize. After eleven years as a judge, Shelton knows what it takes to win, and Head gives Shelton his fifth team win of the series. “This show was made for artists like Sundance,” Shelton said in this season’s penultimate episode.

Unlike mainstream radio that holds up pop music and rap as America’s music, most reality show fans vote for country stars by comparison. Head also made himself into the underdog. While the show, Levine, and Gilman were always quick to mention that Gilman had a country top 40 song and No. 2 album as a 10 year old but lost his record deal when his voice changed. The Voice was his second chance. It’s possible fans grew tired of hearing his sappy story about being once-famous.

“This is gonna be an uphill battle for you, because you’re a very, very, incredibly talented person that’s had some success,” Levine warned Gilman early in the season. “You’ve got to get people rooting for the new you.”

Head, on the other hand, has a famous musician father in Roy Head, who topped country charts in the 60s. Head also competed in season six of American Idol and made it to the finals, but The Voice barely mentioned that fact, making it seem like Head was still trying to make it as a full time musician. Many winners of The Voice have been in both Gilman and Head’s shoes, with partially failed careers, but were still known in the music industry. So perhaps Head avoiding reminding audiences of that fact ended up helping him win.

“I do want to be able to leave my children a legacy, the same that my dad has given me,” he said tearfully in his first audition. And now a champion, with $100,000 and a new record deal.

McDonald and Gallagher never had a chance coming into the finals behind Head and Gilman, and they finished up in third and fourth place, respectively.

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