As expected by many, including myself and my family, Jordan Smith — the 22-year-old church choir leader and Lee University Senior student, from Kentucky and a clear favorite from the very beginning — took home the crown on the Season 9 finale Tuesday night.
His celebrity coach, Adam Levine, also knew he could win the whole competition and was thrilled when he did.
Smith now claims more than the top prize on NBC's singing competition. Amazingly, he’s already the best-selling singer to ever come from The Voice, thanks in large part to his cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love." He even managed to end Adele's five-week reign on iTunes with "Hello."
Jordan then followed it up with another No. 1: "Mary, Did You Know?" which was his last performance that walked him right into the forefront of the Voice.
But beyond his amazing accomplishment on Season 9 of The Voice, there were some realities that many agree with and others will hate about Jordan Smith.
These differences are what set Jordan apart from many and what got him his success – I call it the controversy of authenticity. I’m not saying that he was the only different contestant – but he was probably the most different as he confirmed, revealing his controversial authenticity the most.
I have a blog post coming up next week in which I will hone more on this topic of authenticity. I want to follow up on Smith’s example, but more than that, I want to give you principles of authentic consistency.
For now I want to focus on four authenticities that made Jordan Smith The Champion of the 9th Season of The Voice.
1. Smith was different and he knew it.
"On the show, they really highlighted the fact that I don't look like I sound, which is OK with me, because that's the message that I want to get across- that it's okay to be different than people expect you to be and not fit the mold," Smith told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
He continued: "We live in a world that is hurting, where people disagree over things that don't matter and things that are on the outside."
His authenticity was found in his character and commitment to continue to be who he is regardless if he doesn’t fit “the mold.”
To be a star - and a Christian star at that, is something to admire when you don’t fit the mold that has been crafted for the world’s standards to accept and admire.
I believe, Jordan Smith blew the mold and created a new one, simply because he was consistently different and authentic.
2. Smith’s humility and difference opened doors of opportunity he never even expected.
"The show is nothing compared to what's next," said Smith. "I'm ready to start writing music and putting music out there and working hard to make this happen for myself and make a place for myself in the industry."
Humility will catapult you where pride will simply grapple you.
3. His authenticity enlarged his dream.
Though he did not make the “cut” during Season 8 of The Voice, he was considered for Season 9 – His Time to shine. With instant hits under his belt, Smith is not afraid to dream big.
In another interview he said: "I'd love to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl," he said. "I think that'd be amazing."
I believe that his character and authenticity will get him to the America’s most watched TV show.
4. Jordan just didn’t sing for himself, he sang for God.
Smith’s gifting has been first focused to worship God. As a worship leader he leads others into worship – something that has very little to nothing to do in the music industry and everything to do with honoring God.
A valuable lesson here is that when we put God first in any and every one of our affairs, God will be sure to open unbelievable doors that no man can shut.
When we take care of God’s business first, He makes sure to take care of ours by doing what we can not do ourselves.
5. Smith plowed against the odds.
Beyond the idea that “he didn’t look like he sounds,” the fact that many have mistaken his voice as he has stated, when answering the phone, etc.; not to mention the other amazingly talented contestants that he competed against, as well as many other “inconveniences and criticisms” Smith still plowed through.
His authentic stand for what he believed he was created for, without being hurtful got him to the top of the charts successfully by putting God first and what he values most.
If these five realities about Jordan Smith are not enough, his controversy of authenticity drove him to higher heights.
This season of The Voice has moved beyond religious acceptance – it’s become genuinely astounding. It started during Smith’s very first appearance.
Bidding and fighting for Smith to choose him as his coach, Levine told him, “I think that not just the show, but the world needs a person like you. I think you’re the most important person we’ve ever had on the show.”
Some might think that these words by Levine were just part of his sales pitch, yet I think they were simply a confirmation of the beginning of what God was going to reveal through the show, and through Jordan’s life in the weeks following.
A few weeks later, Levine went further by saying: “You’re not a singer—you’re a figure. You’re a person that everyone draws this amazing energy from. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I’m just honored to be a part of it.”
Such accolades don’t come easy. Not only did Jordan Smith touch millions across TV land, he also touched the coaches, particularly his own coach with a new inspiration to become more authentic, and even better as one who touches the heart of the listener.
When we focus on becoming all that God designed us to be, regardless of what others might think or the crafted molds might require, our [perhaps] controversy of authenticity will make room for the world to be influenced.
Your life then becomes consumed by your purpose and not just by your obligations.
Question: How has your life been a controversy of authenticity? Share below for others to find encouragement.