Is America ready for a Jamaican-Asian champion on one of its beloved music competitions?
We'll find out this week, as Tessanne Chin, the 28-year-old from Kingston, Jamaica, takes on Jacquie Lee, the 16-year-old from Colts Neck, N.J., and Will Champlin, the 30-year-old singer-songwriter son of Bill Champlin from the band Chicago, on the Season Five finale of "The Voice" (Monday night at 8 and Tuesday night at 9 on NBC/4).
Chin has become the odds-on favorite in recent weeks, with her consistently strong vocals on the eclectic songs that coach Adam Levine has given her. She put in her strongest performance yet to reach the finals, with her emotional version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" last week, which reached No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart following the show and gives her the momentum and the chance to be the first-ever singer of Asian heritage to win an American TV singing competition.
Chin's years as a background singer for reggae legend Jimmy Cliff gives her the edge over the promising, but inexperienced, Lee and the uneven Champlin, who has been narrowly saved from elimination twice already this season.
However, any one of the Final Three could take the title with a stellar night. "The Voice" counts iTunes sales from the entire season, as well as votes, to determine the winner, and all three of the finalists have had relatively similar sales this year.
No matter which one of the singers comes out on top, the real winner is the entire show, which has seen a surge in the ratings, up about 10 percent from last fall. The strength of the show has helped raise Adam Levine's profile -- even before he was named People's Sexiest Man Alive -- and launched hits for coach Christina Aguilera, whose recent duet with A Great Big World on the show pushed the song "Say Something" to the top of the charts.
Several stars will hope for similar magic after Tuesday's finale, with Lady Gaga, Celine Dion and Ne-Yo all set to appear, as well as OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, who has written a song that will become the first single of whoever wins.
So will Chin triumph? She should. However, Champlin, from Los Angeles, has a way of pulling out great performances when he really needs them and his underdog status (as well as "The Voice" stylists' attempts to make him look more and more like Levine) will help him rally the troops. It's going to be a close one.