updated 05/20/2014 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/20/2014 AT 11:00 PM ET
From Coldplay to Ed Sheeran, The Voice had plenty of star power on the season 6 finale Tuesday night. But ultimately, all eyes were on the three finalists, as they battled it out for the top prize.
Josh Kaufman of Team Usher, Christina Grimmie of Team Adam Levine, and Jake Worthington of Team Blake Shelton gave it their all throughout the season, starting at the blind auditions, where they belted it out on stage to win the hearts of their coaches.
But in the end, only one could be crowned the winner.
On Tuesday night, a day after the three hopefuls pulled out all the stops with performances that floored the judges, the season 6 champ was revealed.
Josh Kaufman ultimately nabbed America’s vote, solidifying buzz throughout the season that he had the chops to become a superstar.
“This is a show about dreams, about the journey of being an artist, and he represents all of that,” his coach Usher said during the show. “From the time of the blind auditions to being stolen, he’s been on an amazing journey.”
Aside from winning a recording contract, Josh will head on tour this summer along with the other two finalists and chosen fan favorite Kristen Merlin. Joining them on the 31-date tour will be familiar faces from season 5 – winner Tessanne Chin, runner-up Jacquie Lee and Will Champlin – and season 1 favorite Dia Frampton.
From Local Gigs to National TV
Kaufman, who prior to The Voice had played local gigs with his band in the Indianapolis area and supported his family as an SAT prep tutor, remained surprisingly composed after host Carson Daly declared him the winner just one day after he delivered a showstopping rendition of “Set Fire to the Rain” that had the crowd cheering long after the song ended.
“I can’t even talk,” he said after winning the competition. “I’m overwhelmed. I’m surprised. I’m happy. I’m relieved. This has been so much more of an experience than I ever could have imagined.”
Kaufman’s win also marks the first time a coach other than Shelton or Levine can claim victory – although the soulful singer originally began on Team Adam before Usher stole him away.
“This is the last big chance for me and for my family. To be able to do this for them and for Usher, it’s huge,” Kaufman said earlier in the show during a Voice confessional.
Despite losing out on the big prize, the night was still a win for young finalists Worthington and Grimmie.
Grimmie, a 20-year-old YouTube sensation from Marlton, New Jersey, ultimately came in third, but Levine dramatically announced earlier in the show that despite the outcome, “you will have a record deal because I would like to sign you for my label.”
And Worthington, a 17-year-old country singer from La Porte, Texas, who failed to turn any chairs last season, made it clear his experience on the show was about more than simply winning.
“It’s not the recording contract and it’s not the money,” said the teen, who adorably bonded with Shelton throughout the season. “It’s getting on that stage, grabbing the microphone and doing what we love – and that’s what matters.”