By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Soulful crooner Javier Colon was crowned the inaugural winner of “The Voice,” NBC’s new singing contest.
The 34-year-old Colon of Stratford, Conn., triumphed over three other finalists when the audience vote was announced on Wednesday’s live season finale. He will receive a $100,000 prize and a recording contract.
A slim, 2 percent margin separated Colon from second-place Dia Frampton, 23, of St. George, Utah, host Carson Daly said.
The other finalists were Vicci Martinez, 26, of Tacoma, Wash., and Beverly McClellan, 41, of Virginia and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“Wow, thank you,” a stunned-looking Colon said as confetti rained down on him. “The three women behind me are absolutely awesome and it was a pleasure to be here with them.”
“The Voice” featured pop stars Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as “coaches” for the contestants. In a twist on the talent show format, the contestants initially were picked sight unseen and on the basis of their voice.
Colon was coached by Maroon 5 frontman Levine, who lifted his arms in victory when Colon’s name was announced and then rushed on stage to hug him. Shelton, who coached Frampton, smiled and applauded.
The other pro-contestant pairings were McClellan-Aguilera and Martinez-Green.
During the live finale, the contestants had the chance to perform with other famous singers. Miranda Lambert, who is married to fellow country star Shelton, sang with Frampton; Stevie Nicks with Colon; Pat Monahan of Train with Martinez and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder with McClellan.
Based on a Dutch series, “The Voice” proved a much-needed ratings hit for NBC and will return to the network’s lineup.
The next season’s casting call is under way at NBC’s website.
Besides the blind audition, the show brought another fresh wrinkle to TV: rocker McClellan and bluesy singer Martinez are openly gay. That contrasts with TV’s No. 1 singing show, “American Idol,” which has included gay singers who didn’t address their sexuality until after the competition ended, such as Adam Lambert.
The four finalists will start a six-city concert tour in late July, joined by four other top finishers: Frenchie Davis, a Washington, D.C., native; Nakia of Austin, Texas; Casey Weston, Naples, Fla., and Xenia, Temecula, Calif.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)