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'The Voice' Season 8 Recap & Review: The Winner Is... Sawyer Fredericks of Team Pharrell

by Carolyn Menyes   May 19, 2015 23:02 PM EDT

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After months of blind auditions, crazy knockouts and weeks of live shows and eliminations, tonight (May 19), The Voice season eight deemed its winner... Sawyer Fredericks. Yes, the longtime favorite gave a win to Team Pharrell over Meghan Linsey, Joshua Davis and Koryn Hawthorne.

The Voice finale kicked off by reminding us of all of the fallen tributes. The top four kicked things off by paying tribute to the season's earlier mentor Nate Ruess by performing "Carry On" by fun. Soon, though, they were joined by Kimberly Nichole, India Carney, Corey Kent White, Hannah Kirby and the rest of the top 20 for a performance of another fun. song "Some Nights" reminding of us what maybe could have been.

Davis put together a collection of emotional singers for a performance of the Blake Crowes "She Talks to Angels," bringing back White, Nichole, Deanna Johnson and Brian Johnson. The performance itself is about what you could have expected: soft, emotional with some big moments courtesy of that diva Nichole. He got a second turn at the microphone later to duet with Sheryl Crow on "Give it to Me," where he was a little overshadowed but still sounded solid next to the prolific pop rocker.

Hawthorne's collaboration of the night found her teaming up with Kelly Clarkson for a cover of "I'd Rather Go Blind." Though both these ladies have some crazy voices (and Clarkson deemed that "this girl can sing, y'all"), it didn't seem like their tones meshed all that well, which is why we never got any harmonies. But, their personalities blended together perfectly, for a performance that was full of smiling energy.

She also enlisted a team of season eight's biggest divas: Caitlin Caporale, Tonya Boyd-Cannon, Lexi Davila, India Carney and Mia Z for a performance of "Uptown Funk," tapping into that No. 1 life. It was a great reminder of all the female talent that hit the show this year, even though they were all gone just a little too soon.

Linsey tapped fellow Voice finalist Sarah Potenza for a performance of "Piece of My Heart." These two loud and proud ladies forged a fast friendship during the blind auditions, bonding over their love of rock and their mutual hometown Nashville. And, like, damn. Potenza was sent home way too early in this competition, a cruel byproduct of the team structure, so it was great for her to have her time back in the spotlight. These two women sang like it was their last night on Earth, and they stole a piece of my heart in the process.

Hawthorne wasn't the only one to get a duet with Kelly Clarkson - Linsey got a turn with the superstar (and former talent show winner) as well, joining her for her new single "Invincible." The two also had notable chemistry (though I think Clarkson is just like that with everyone) and they both slayed this performance.

For his big star performance, Fredericks was joined (of course) by rock legend John Fogerty for a medley of his biggest hits. Unfortunately for Sawyer's big moment, his microphone didn't really seem to be on all the way. But, when you could hear him, he sounded just as sweet as ever, and Fogerty was shockingly solid in his old age too.

Fredericks brought back his fellow teens Lowell Oakley, Brooke Adee and Mia Z for a take on "Lie to Me." It was maybe the collaboration that gelled the least, but it was nice to see Sawyer bring back his friends.

As far as solo superstar performances go, we got some revisits from past Voice mentors. Meghan Trainor broke out the ukulele for a stripped down version of her new single "Dear Future Husband" and Maroon 5 took the stage with its new single "This Summer's Gonna Hurt Like a Motherf*cker" (wonder how they got that booking) during the top half of the show.

The second half of the show featured the live debut of Luke Bryan's new single "Kick the Dust Up" and an appearance from the oft-covered Ed Sheeran, who gave an example of what his new single "Photograph" really should sound like.

And, after all of the hullabaloo, the results were read. Fourth place went to Koryn Hawthorne, an expected feat when you realize none of her songs really cracked the iTunes charts. And then, it was down to three. As could have been expected, Joshua Davis was sent packing in that place. And the two favorites, Sawyer Fredericks and Meghan Linsey remained. And, like it could have been expected all along, Sawyer Fredericks took it home for Team Pharrell, giving the relatively new coach his first win.

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