We’re here at the end of the road for this cycle of “The Voice”. NBC looked into it, but it couldn’t find a way to extend the season any further. (Lord knows the one-hour repeat hour before the finale proper demonstrates how badly this network is milking this franchise.) But that’s all for the best, as the outcome tonight looks pretty much preordained. I went on record saying this last night, but I’ll once again reiterate that it’s Cassadee Pope’s contest to lose at this point. Assuming they stagger the eliminations, we should have Pope and Terry McDermott standing alone in the final moments before the champion is crowned.

But who knows? That’s why we have to watch the show and find out how close those predictions match reality. All we knows is that tonight’s 2-hour finale will feature a slew of performances by the final three contestants, the coaches, and a parade of other artists taking advantage of the spotlight in order to spike record sales before the holidays are over. Even though we have 120 minutes to get through, I’ll be sparing in tonight’s liveblog when discussing things non-show related. I’m sure you’re dying to hear my thoughts about The Killers’ latest single, but there’s a top-notch team of music critics here at HitFix that can fill that role nicely.
 
Let’s get the final running diary of the Fall underway!

9:00 p.m. Carson Daly is dressed for a funeral. CeeLo Green is dressed for battle inside the Thunderdome. This round goes to Green.
 
9:01 p.m. It would be easier for Daly to say who is NOT performing tonight, rather than who is.
 
9:02 p.m. We get a quick recap of last night, when Nicholas David went out of his comfort zone in order to get extra votes. I think going uptempo on two of the three numbers was a mistake, but we’ll see if it actually turned the tide in his favor. McDermott added slight spice to his overall repertoire, while Pope honed the country-pop approach that drove voters bonkers. (She might have more #1 songs on iTunes than anyone else this year. Anyone. Thus ends "Ryan just guessing about things like this".)
 
9:03 p.m. Speaking of someone who knows her way to the top of the charts, Rihanna takes the stage to perform “Diamonds”. I wonder if the journalists that went on that “seven shows in seven days in seven countries” tour are there in the audience right now. If you see tomatoes flung at the stage during this performance, you’ll know they are there.
 
9:11 p.m. Adam Levine is dressed for prom. His favorite part of last night? Nicholas David opting to do an entertaining number versus a vocal showstopper. When asked about David’s chances, Green seriously hedges his bets even while praising his last remaining contestant. It’s apparently Christina Aguilera’s birthday, and I wonder who gave her that bedazzled fan as a present. Shelton claims that he woke up hung over this morning after celebrating his team’s imminent victory tonight.
 
9:13 p.m. It’s “Bring Back Performance” time. (What a horrific name for an otherwise sweet idea.) Several former members of the season have returned to help Terry McDermott sing Kiss’ “Rock And Roll All Night”. McDermott breaks down each singer even better than the coaches have this year. This guy has a future. I just hope it’s not taking over for Christina Milian next year.
 

9:16 p.m. Wow, Rudy Parris has a future in a KISS cover band. Dude is a vocal dead ringer for Gene Simmons. Bryan Keith is less comfortable in this milieu, but Amanda Brown and Michaela Paige slide right in the song’s vibe. Aw. I miss at least half of these people. I’ll let you guess which two.

9:23 p.m. Terry And The Superfriends join Christina Milian in the Social Media Coliseum of Doom. There’s a whole lot of red leather up in this joint.
 
9:24 p.m. Nicholas David takes the stage with Smokey Robinson to perform “Cruisin’”. It’s a great pairing, albeit with a song containing such sexual undertones that the two apparently decide that eye contact probably isn’t a wise thing.  That’s too bad: how often will David get a chance like this? And yet he spends most of the song in his own orbit. Oh well.
 
9:28 p.m. And now, FINALLY, we get a segment dedicated to Adam Levine. This guy has gone under the radar all season.
 
9:30 p.m. The Killers grace America with their presence, performing “Here With Me”. I must have missed the moment where Brandon Flowers shaved off his ironic-yet-deadly-serious moustache. At least he’s still writing songs that are too high for him to actually sing in a live environment. So some things haven’t changed.
 
9:31 p.m. Pope joins the band halfway through. Now she can actually SING the melody, and I can hear its potential more than I could a minute ago. THIS IS THE VOICE, indeed.
 
9:37 p.m. The cast of “The Biggest Loser” is in the house. Quick, someone punch Daly with a kettlebell. I need to know if he’s human or android, once and for all.
 
9:38 p.m. It’s a “Heartbreakers”-themed number, as the show’s version of a boy band takes on Fountain Of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom”. I’m really not sure we needed to sing the stage waitresses’ underwear at the outset of the performance, but that’s why I’m here recapping the show from home. Onstage right now: Dez Duron, Diego Val, MacKenzie Bourg, Cody Belew, and Julio Cesar Castillo. Bourg’s retro feel seems pulled from the Weezer video for “Buddy Holly”. It totally works for him, somehow.  
 
9:40 p.m. It’s the “Blake Shelton Is A Horny Dude” montage. Just like the Mayans foretold.
 
9:42 p.m. We get a sneak peak of the next cycle of the show, with our first looks at Shakira and Usher. They can’t agree on anything musically except for Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”. COMEDY. Still, I’ll say once again that constantly rotating coaches each season is the smartest thing this show can do. After three cycles, both the audiences and the coaches themselves understand the strategies involved with these four. (How many times during the blinds did we hear coaches make decisions based on what they knew another would do?) Switching up those dynamics will change the show up enough to keep people guessing in the next cycle, and/or yield a team consisting of 16 bellydancers. Anything’s possible.
 
9:49 p.m. Christian Milian’s cleavage seems to be auditioning to be a coach in the fifth cycle of the show.
 
9:50 p.m. Our last “Confessional”, guys. McDermott says that winning “The Voice” will be the first phase of a Scottish invasion. It’s like “Braveheart” meets “Red Dawn” meets “Rock Of Ages”. I like it!
 
9:52 p.m. Pope and McDermott join Kelly Clarkson to perform “Catch My Breath”. Once again, Pope gets a song tailor-made for her skillset. McDermott looks slightly lost. If votes mattered, I’d read something into this. And if I knew the specifics of how Simon Cowell felt about the first “American Idol” making an appearance on yet another season of “The Voice”, I’d weigh in on that as well. But for now, let’s all agree that that song is no “Since U Been Gone” and move along.
 
9:59 p.m. It’s another “Bring Back” performance, with a Girl Power twist, led by Pope. They perform Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time”. In a related note, Imagine Dragons is apparently a real band and not a meme. The more you know! Along for the ride are De’Borah, Liz Davis, and Melanie Martinez. De’Borah is my big “what if” of the season as a whole. What happens if Aguilera chooses to save her instead of Adriana Louise? Maybe she’s gone the following week. Maybe she flourishes and stands in Pope’s place tonight. It’s a fun yet sad thought at the same time.
 
10:09 p.m. McDermott and Peter Frampton? That’s just chocolate and peanut butter, y’all. The two sing “Baby, I Love Your Way,” because of COURSE they do. I’m wondered the younger folks tonight are thinking, “Wait, is that the guy that used to be in Genesis?” I kid. They don’t know who Genesis is, either.

10:10 p.m. It's night and day when McDermott gets hold of a song he can actually sing. Unlike the David/Robinson combo, these two actually look to be enjoying each other's company. Can't wait to Pope to just hug Avril Lavigne for the duration of their upcoming duet.

10:11 p.m. It’s time to honor Christina Aguilera on her birthday. Her Scooby-Doo impression is actually adorable, and might be the most human moment she’s had on the show all season. After the coaches offer their praise, we get a quick montage of several performers throughout the season wishing her a happy birthday, including The Muppets.
 
10:18 p.m. It’s another female-centric group performance, as five former contestants sing The Emotions’ “Best Of My Love”. Those five? Sylvia Yacoub, Adriana Louise, Jocelyn Rivera, Lauren Allred, and Devyn DeLeora. I remembered exactly two of those names before Daly just read them off. Maybe 64 contestants making it through the Blind Auditions is too many?
 
10:19 p.m. I still dig Allred’s vibe. The other four are actively working the audience, and she’s staying back and letting the room come to her. I understand why she didn’t make it further, but she’s a fascinating wild card all the same.
 
10:23 p.m. All three finalists come onstage, where Saint CeeLo Green scares the bejesus out of everyone watching. He has gifts for each of them in the form of brand new cars. Kia Motors has officially sponsored the Scottish Invasion. Also? It looks like the show is going to hold all three finalists until the last minute, in order to maximize viewership. Makes sense: why alienate a fan base and risk losing ratings?
 
10:28 p.m. The cavalcade of recording artists continues with Bruno Mars performing “When I Was Your Man”. His “Saturday Night Live” was one of the great surprises of the Fall, with him pulling both host and musical guest duties that night. Here, all he has to do is perform a ballad, and he does it well. Can HE be a coach in an upcoming cycle? That would be something.
 
10:33 p.m. Our final “Bring Back” performance is led by Nicholas David, and he’ll be performing Boys II Men’s “End Of The Road” with Amanda Brown, Trevin Hunte, and Dez Duron. Brown and Duron each pulled double duty tonight. Not sure what, if anything, to read into that. But there it is all the same.
 
10:35 p.m. I wouldn’t have thought these four voices would blend together, but they do work in concert nicely. One thing that has been on my mind as each finalist has described their relationship with their “bring back” artists: “The Voice” doesn’t really do artists’ biographies well. I’ve harped on this all season, so I won’t turn into a broken record here. But I would have loved to have seen David/Duron hang out a bit. That makes NO SENSE on paper, but might have been fun to simply witness. Cut out, oh, 32 contestants from the post-Blinds and maybe you have time for footage like that?
 
10:42 p.m. It’s both a dream duet plus a callback to an earlier performance from this season, as Cassadee Pope and Avril Lavigne team up to perform “I’m With You”. I can’t tell is Lavigne is annoyed to be there or simply giving off her usual stage vibe. I haven’t been to a lot of live Lavigne shows, so I won’t presume. Lavigne seems on point vocally, and is especially strong when harmonizing with Pope. The giant smile Lavigne gives her biggest fan at the end suggests Lavigne just looks super serious by nature while singing.  
 
10:48 p.m. The four coaches join together one last time to sing Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”. They…know this song is ironic, right? (Nope. They totally don’t. Or “The Voice” doesn’t.)
 
10:54 p.m. OK, after three months, countless episodes, and a bazillion trips to the Social Media Theatre of Pain, it’s time to announce the winner.
 
10:55 p.m. While interviewing McDermott about his family, the cameras cut to David’s family instead. Ooops. Poor David himself looks like he’s in front of a firing squad. Who can blame him? The nerves must be excruciating for all three.
 
10:56 p.m. I hope Green doesn’t hug anyone while wearing those crazy shoulderpads.
 
10:58 p.m. OK, they are announcing each in order. In third place: Nicholas David.  
 
10:59 p.m. In second place: Terry McDermott, which means Cassadee Pope has won “The Voice”, making her the first female winner of the show.
 
11:00 p.m. Even though that felt like the only possible outcome, it’s still a great moment for her all the same. Given the show’s track record, there’s no remote guarantee that this will lead to any success after the cameras stop rolling. But if she sticks with the country-pop vibe that helped her win, it might yield stronger results over the long haul.
 
Some final thoughts:
 
The show went for a “more is more” approach this season, with mixed results. It did allow surprises such as Lauren Allred and Cody Belew, who might not have made it as far as they did in the old format. The one rousing, unquestionable success was “The Steal”, which invigorated the Battle Rounds and gave us an extra two months with Amanda Brown that would have been lost otherwise. By the same token, there were just too many darn contestants, with many simply lost in the fray. If “The Voice” has to deliver results in montage form, it’s doing something wrong.
 
Well, that’s in for the third season of the show. Thanks to all that read these recaps. And you should thank me for not recording these in R. Kelly-esque operas and posting them as MP3s instead of running diaries.
 
Did the right person win the show? Which of the three finalists has the best shot at a successful career? Will the change in coaches heading into the next season help or hurt “The Voice” overall? Sound off below!