Sawyer Fredericks was definitely a different the of contestant on season 8 of The Voice. In a season dominated by mighty-piped soul divas — and a series historically dominated by industry veterans — along came a sweet little 16-year-old singer-songwriter, a total unknown, literally fresh off the farm, piping out Ray LaMontagne songs in a distinctively reedy drawl. From the moment the audience saw him they loved him, as did coach and winner Pharrell Williams.
One of the most unique contestants in Voice history, audiences immediately made Sawyer Fredericks the “king of iTunes,” downloading all of his performances in droves. And on this Tuesday’s finale, Sawyer was crowned the king of The Voice Season 8 — with a gorgeous winner’s single, “Please,” penned by none other than his idol, Ray LaMontagne. He stuck with what he knew and with what worked.
This wasn’t just a victory for Sawyer Fredericks. It was also a first-time win for his coach, Pharrell Williams, who now joins a shortlist that includes Usher, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton — the only other coaches to win The Voice since 2011. This was a total turnaround from Pharrell’s debut season last year, when, embarrassingly, he was the first coach knocked out of the running in the top eight week.
Placing second this season was a contestant from the other end of the industry experience and age spectrum: Team Blake’s 29-year-old seasoned pro Meghan Linsey, formerly of the successful country duo Steel Magnolia (winners of CMT’s Can You Duet? talent show in 2009). While Meghan didn’t win The Voice, this show gave her a second chance and an opportunity to reinvent herself as a soul-singing solo artist, so hopefully this is just a new beginning for her.
Coming in third was Team Adam’s underdog troubadour Joshua Davis (another quiet-voiced troubadour among the divas), and fourth was Team Pharrell’s 17-year-old Koryn Hawthorne, the powerhouse contestant who showed the most growth this season and — possibly with her avowed admirer Pharrell’s post-show guidance — has the potential to go on to bigger and better things.
We will see you all in September when Season 9 of The Voice kicks off. Until then, download some of Sawyer Frederick’s original music here. You can also see Sawyer performing the winning sound “Please” below.