But that was little consolation to Lauren Duski fans, who were baffled about how their favorite could finish second to Chris Blue in the show’s season finale Tuesday night.
Many took to Twitter to voice their frustration and disbelief in the outcome. For several minutes after the results were announced, #rigged, #fixed and #robbed were popular hashtags.
Erika (@orsaderika) tweeted: “Lauren Duski didn’t win the voice… it’s RIGGED”
Linda C (@Toshy586) tweeted: “@LaurenDuski Sorry you we’re robbed! You we’re the true Winner!I think you should be #1”
Coach Wilcox (@DavidWilcox7) expressed similar sentiments: “#laurenduski unmatched in reality show competitions. #rigged #robbed Still #1 to most viewers!”
Kristine Hartley (@kristinehartley) figured she knew what happened: “@LaurenDuski @blakeshelton Dear Russians…stop hacking our voting systems…how does 3 songs in the top 10 on iTunes VS 1 not win this?!? 😤”
YoWee (@astanaboy) expressed cynicism that almost matches my own: “@LaurenDuski Lauren there’s absolutely no way that you didn’t have more votes than Chris Blue! But, it’s the “NBC” way of doing things!!! The big boys at the top have been pullin this crap season after season! No way was another country contestant gonna to win!!!” And then added: “@blakeshelton #VoiceFinale This decision by NBC to fix this season is going to hurt the show next year! People are sick of it!!!”
Then there was this to Penny Love (@lovetoopenny), who apparently paid to download some of Lauren’s songs on iTunes: “I’m so sad. Don’t know if I will ever watch again. It’s like they stole my time & money.”
Fans’ confusion — their disbelief — and their mistrust — is easy to understand.Consider:
* When voting ended Tuesday, Lauren had the number one and number two songs on iTunes. Chris Blue was sitting at number three and number nine.
* Lauren was the only Voice contestant to top the iTunes singles chart this season, and she did it twice.
* On Tuesday, seven of Lauren’s previous performances from The Voice re-entered the iTunes Top 200. One — “Ghost in This House” — hit number 10. All were in the top 135.
* By contrast, Chris Blue had five past songs re-enter the Top 200. Two of those fell below all of Lauren’s.
* Lauren was the only Season 12 singer to crack the iTunes Top 200 in every phase of the competition. Chris failed to chart in the battle or knockout round.
* During five weeks of live competition, Lauren’s solos ranked higher on iTunes than Chris’ all five weeks. Only Chris’ Top 8 duet with Vanessa Ferguson did better on iTunes — number six compared to number 23 for Lauren and Brennley Brown.
* During the five live shows where Lauren and Chris went head to head, Lauren finished first or second among Voice contestants on iTunes every time. Chris never finished higher than fourth among Voice contestants until the Top 8 show. On Top 10 night, his single was sixth on iTunes, trailing every other finalist.
But don’t expect Lauren or Chris to enter this fray. They embraced after the outcome was announced. They were both smiling when they posed for a photo together after the show.
On Twitter, Lauren expressed gratitude to The Voice and Blake Shelton “for changing my life. I am so proud to have shared my heart and country music with the world.”
Lauren had nothing but kind words for Chris Blue: “Could not be more proud of @Chrisbluelive and @aliciakeys,” she wrote in a tweet. “It’s only the beginning my friend! Love you too much!!!”
And her fans might be able to find solace in this.
Chris won a record deal with Universal Music Group. Given the label’s track record with past Voice contestants, I’m not sure I’d even label that as a “prize.”
Lauren gained a working relationship with Blake Shelton, who has a pretty fantastic track record for supporting his former contestants from The Voice. Remember, that was Season 2’s RaeLynn opening for him on his recent tour. That was his label she landed on to release her debut album.
Which prize do you think is more valuable?