June 19, 2013 at 8:50 AM ET
Danielle Bradbery’s “The Voice” audition was her first big performance. That ninety seconds ended up taking her all the way to the top.
The 16-year-old country singer from Team Blake was named "The Voice” season four champion on Tuesday night, making her the last artist standing from some 40,000 hopefuls who auditioned. She also became the show’s youngest winner, and the first titleholder not to have some form of professional experience before claiming the top spot.
Danielle was visibly shocked when her name was called by host Carson Daly -- but perhaps moreso when he followed that up by telling the audience that she was going to perform Sara Evans’ “Born To Fly,” the song that helped her clinch the title.
“I did not know I was going to have to sing this whole song after crying my eyes out and shaking,” she told TODAY.com afterward, holding her brand-new “Voice” trophy. “That was definitely unexpected. But I tried my best to sing.”
Danielle’s best has been good enough all season. America selected her in a decision that didn’t seem to surprise anyone other than her. She was widely considered a frontrunner and her singles charted consistently on iTunes. During Monday night’s performance show, Adam Levine went so far as to declare her the winner.
But on Tuesday, the champion gave all the credit to her coach.
“Blake (Shelton) is an amazing person. I definitely feel the care that he has for me,” she said. “He's definitely someone that you would want by your side all the time. He has my back and I'm so glad.”
As for her future, Danielle told TODAY.com that she wants to learn songwriting, and of course, hopes to re-team with Shelton. “I definitely would love to have Blake included in everything,” she said, adding that her immediate plans were to “just embrace the moment while it’s here.”
For Shelton, it was less about winning the “Voice” title for the third straight season and more about the young singer that he had a chance to mentor.
“Even to take myself out of the equation, Danielle Bradbery might be the most important artist to ever walk across 'The Voice’ stage,” he declared, “because Danielle Bradbery may be the first person that we've ever actually discovered here on this show. The kid has never sung in front of people before and she just won ‘The Voice.’ That's a big deal.
“I couldn’t be happier, obviously.”