“It’s been wild! I’m still trying to process the blinds and having a chair turn for me,” says a humbly excited Jake Hoot reacting to winning the Season 17 title for “The Voice.” “It’s been very overwhelming and so many people have reached out with love and support so I’m very grateful for it.” Senior Gold Derby editor Marcus James Dixon and contributor Denton Davidson recently spoke with the Team Kelly Clarkson champion, who defeated Team Blake Shelton‘s Ricky Duran, Team John Legend‘s Katie Kadan and Team Gwen Stefani‘s Rose Short to win the title during Tuesday’s season finale. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“I’m just grateful Kelly turned for me,” he says in response to going from a one-chair turn blind audition to the winner’s circle. “People have asked me what I feel like that nobody else turned, but at the end of the day I’m just grateful that she turned for me and that she had enough faith in me to not only turn for me but pass me through the battles and the knockouts. It’s a crazy thing to be the only one-chair turn. It’s a crazy accomplishment and I’m just grateful that people voted me through and made it possible.”
At age 31, Jake had plenty of opportunities to audition for “The Voice” in the previous 16 seasons but he deliberately held off until now. “Somebody had reached out to me to come and audition and I honestly thought it was fake,” he admits. “I wasn’t wanting to do it. But I brought it up to some family members and some friends and everybody had the same answer, ‘Why not?’ I think if it had been even six months earlier I wouldn’t have done it because I was still going through a divorce and trying to cope with that. It was just perfect timing.”
“Kelly has told me she new from the blinds that I was going to be in the finale,” Jake responds when asked about what attributed to his success this season. “There’s no way I would have ever thought that. She just kept equipping me with the right ways to approach songs. In the knockouts I got to sing ‘Cover Me Up’ and I think that was the turning point for me because I was able to slow everything down. But I think the thing that helped propel me was just the encouragement from Kelly to believe in myself and be more comfortable on stage.”
When looking back at all of Jake’s performances on Season 17 of “The Voice,” there were a couple that stood out to him as personal favorites. “There wasn’t anything about ‘Desperado’ I didn’t like,” he says of the song he dedicated to his mother. “And of course the duet that I got to sing with Kelly, ‘Wintersong.’ That was just a special moment that I really enjoyed. It’s going to be one of my all-time favorite things that I’ve ever done. Not only to get to share the stage with her, but share that kind of a song that not a lot of people have heard but a lot of people fell in love with.”
So what’s next for Jake now that the season is over and he walked away with the Season 17 title? “First and foremost is just to go back home and spend the holidays with family,” he responds. “Kelly and a couple of other people that I’m hoping to work with will reconvene in early January and go from there. I have a bunch of songs to send to Kelly and see what she thinks and take it one step at a time. Going from working an eight-to-five job to possibly doing music full time is a life change and an adjustment. I’m super excited to get to work and start recording.”