Jake Hoot has been crowned the winner of The Voice season 17. This 31-year-old country singer was a front-runner the entire way through the live shows, as he was never in danger of elimination during any of the live shows and he won the Apple Music vote boost every week that it was available.
That boost is given to the singer whose songs are streamed the most on Apple Music each week between the performances and the results; Hoot winning that every week was a huge clue that he might be the eventual winner. But he also credits his coach, Kelly Clarkson, with helping him get to the end.
“I would describe Kelly’s coaching style as… tough love,” he says of his coach, adding, “I’m so grateful to have Kelly as a coach. She understands me as an artist and we’ve become true friends.”
“With a name like ‘Jake Hoot,’ you had no other genre option,” Clarkson joked earlier in the season to the country singer, adding, “I love rehearsals with Jake, he makes me feel so peaceful and I just love being serenaded by him.”
She later pointed out that Hoot was a one-chair turn audition and here he is now, standing in the final two. “I’m so proud of you,” she said to him before he was announced as the winner.
The other three finalists finished thusly: Rose Short in fourth place, Katie Kadan in third place, and Ricky Duran in second place.
In his journey to get to the winner’s circle, Hoot performed Luke Combs’ “When It Rains It Pours” for his blind audition, which earned him a spot on Kelly Clarkson’s team. She compared him to Ronnie Dunn of the famed country duo Brooks & Dunn, which is a huge compliment but also accurate — Hoot’s sound is quite reminiscent of Dunn.
In the Battle Round, Hoot defeated teammate Steve Knill on the Willie Nelson hit “Always On My Mind.” He then took on Melinda Rodriguez in the Knockout Round with Michael Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up” and emerged victorious there as well.
During the live shows, Hoot sang country hits “You Lie,” “Every Light in the House,” “That Ain’t My Truck,” and “Amazed,” but he also showed some range by performing Loggins & Messina’s hit “Danny’s Song,” the Eagles ballad “Desperado,” and the holiday song “Wintersong,” which he performed as a duet with coach Clarkson during the live finale.
Moving forward, it seems like a country album is definitely in Hoot’s future. He knows who he is, which is something he said in an interview with his hometown PBS affiliate this season is really important to him as an artist.
“Find out who you are as an artist. That takes a long time, it took me a long time to kind of hone that sound in and hone what kind of music and genre,” says Hoot. “But once you find it, stick to it and surround yourself with people who are going to support you and push you. Sometimes that comes from tough love and people being brutally honest, which is what you want.
“You don’t want someone who is always going to tell you, ‘You’re doing a great job!’ when you did a horrible job. You want that constructive criticism. Surround yourself with a great support group.”
Hoot definitely has a great support group. His parents, girlfriend, and 4-year-old daughter Macy could be seen during the finale cheering him on from the backstage family room.
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