Cookeville musician Hoot wins ‘The Voice’

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

LOS ANGELES – The proverbial Earth shaking many Upper Cumberland residents felt Tuesday night around 10 p.m. was the result of cheers and mild hysteria after Cookeville musician Jake Hoot was named the winner of “The Voice” and awarded $100,000 and a recording contract.  

When the final votes were tallied, Ricky Duran (Team Blake Shelton) finished in second place, Katie Kadan (Team John Legend) came in third and Rose Short (Team Gwen Stefani) in fourth.

During the final show on Tuesday, Hoot partnered with Little Big Town on “Over Drinking,” a song from Little Big Town’s forthcoming new album “Nightfall,” which is due out in January.   

True to his country roots, Hoot has consistently throughout the season reached back to older country for his song choices, and his pick for the final was no different. 

For his final cover song in the competition, Hoot performed Lonestar’s “Amazed,” a song released 20 years ago that was Lonestar’s biggest hit reaching number one on the Billboard Top 100 chart. The song was just as hot for Hoot, reaching the number six spot on the “All Genres” music chart on Apple iTunes. 

In fact, by Tuesday morning, Hoot had the number two, three, four and five spots on the “Country” music chart behind Blake Shelton’s “Nobody But You” duet with Gwen Stefani with “Wintersong,” “Better Off Without You,” “Amazed” and “Desperado” respectively. 

Hoot scored three of the top six hits on the “All Genres” music chart, peaking at number two with “Wintersong,” followed by “Better Off Without You” at number five and “Amazed” at number six. Ricky Duran’s “A Woman Like Her” took the top spot, and Katie Kadan’s “All Better” came in at number four. 

Hoot’s original song, “Better Off Without You,” was a composition that he co-wrote with Dave Pahanish as they were each going through a divorce. The song allowed Hoot to showcase his vulnerability and put his emotions out there for the audience.

Stefani said that she felt like she got to know him better through the song. “My favorite thing that’s happened through the show is watching you get so relaxed on stage and really enjoying it and owning it. At first, it was like you were a little bit timid – now I can see you’re embodying the whole experience!”

Hoot’s coach Kelly Clarkson added, “A great writer always pulls from their own life experience although it’s a hard thing. That hurdle was put there for you to get through, but other people to connect that message. That’s the power of being a writer as well as a singer. I love you got to showcase that.”

For his duet with Clarkson, he chose to perform “Wintersong” by the Tenors. The Tenors were so impressed with the performance that they retweeted The Voice’s tweet of the performance, commenting that it was a “Beautiful version of ‘Wintersong.'” They tweeted to @NBCTheVoice, @kellyclarkson and @jakehootmusic “we loved your performance of “Wintersong” last night!”

On Wednesday, the Tenors tweeted out congratulations to Hoot on his win and congratulated Clarkson on her great work coaching. The Tenors added, “Now the fun begins, enjoy every moment and you have a personal invitation to record with us anywhere, anytime – we’ll make it happen!”

“I love you, Jake Hoot!” Clarkson said to Hoot. “You are everything I grew up on in country music – it’s classic and beautiful. I can’t believe you were a one-chair turn, but I’m so glad you were, so I didn’t have to fight anyone.”

Hoot tentatively plans to return to Cookeville this weekend. Rumors abound that a concert for his Cookeville fans at TTU’s Hooper Eblen Center may be in the works for Jan. 4. More details will be made public as they become available. 

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