‘The Voice’ Crowns Season 22 Champ: And the Winner Is…

The Voice Season 22 finalists
Nicole Weingart/NBC

The Voice crowned its Season 22 winner on Tuesday (December 13) night as 22-year-old country artist Bryce Leatherwood was named the champion of the hit NBC competition series.

Leatherwood was up against tough competition in the final, including his Team Blake teammates Bodie (runner-up) and Brayden Lape (5th place), Team Camila’s Morgan Myles (3rd place), and Team Legend’s Omar Jose Cardona (4th place). The Statesboro, Georgia native, who made it to the Live Rounds after an audience vote, has become the first-ever Instant Save Artist to win The Voice.

The finale saw Leatherwood joined on stage by his coach Blake Shelton for a rousing performance of the country star’s own 2011 hit “Hillbilly Bone.” This came after Leatherwood wowed audiences on Monday’s telecast with his rendition of two timeless country classics, “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” by Travis Tritt and “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley.

It’s been quite the journey for Leatherwood, who has been saved multiple times throughout the competition. In his blind audition, he earned a three-chair turn after his risky choice of singing “Goodbye Time” by Conway Twitty in the style of Shelton. He ultimately chose Shelton as his coach and went on to perform a cover of “Red Dirt Road” in the Battle Round, which won him a last-minute save from Shelton.

Leatherwood is currently finishing up his final year at Georgia Southern University, where he’s studying for a degree in business in hopes of managing his music career. He got his experience on stage in the college bar scene, which is how he pays his bills — he probably won’t have to worry about that anymore.

“It’s just so humbling to know that people love Bryce Leatherwood,” the Voice champion told People after his victory. “People love what I stand for. People love my music and how I sang. It took me by surprise that America chose me. I just think my goal in life is to make people happy, and America made me happy today. I’m very excited to be The Voice champion of Season 22.”

The Voice, Season 23, TBA, NBC