'The Voice' Finale Showdown: Who Will Win and Why It Matters (For the Show, Anyway)

Reality TV is like high school -- and we're predicting the pretty blonde girl is winning this popularity contest

We never really, truly leave high school, do we? This week's season finale of The Voice (which wraps up Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC) is just another reminder of that fact. In the end, it's not just about who has the greatest "voice." It's a popularity contest, too. 

And the choice has come down to: The Swon Brothers, a couple of nice guys with twangy guitars from Oklahoma; Danielle Bradbery, a golden country girl from Texas with flowing blond tresses; and Michelle Chamuel, a goofy, gay indie rock chick from Massachusetts. Watch a clip of the last three contestants performing together:

Who will win it? You don't have to be an eye-rolling British curmudgeon to guess this one. Most critics have already predicted the gorgeous blonde's coronation, with a few hoping that the girl in the big glasses will pull off a Breakfast Club-esque ending. (Hey, we're all just nice people on the inside!) 

But The Breakfast Club was fictional, and the show's producers are doing a reality TV show here. "It’s pretty clear who the show hopes will be crowned the champion on Tuesday," writes Craig Berman of Today.com. "Danielle Bradbery was given the prime slots and closed the show Monday night. Before she’d even uttered her first note of “Born to Fly,” Adam Levine already had anointed her the winner and Blake Shelton, the 16-year-old's coach, had said (again) that she was one of the most important artists they’d ever seen walk across the show's stage." 

As countless reviewers have reminded us, we're three seasons in now, and The Voice has yet to launch a Carrie Underwood-caliber star. And since no one's betting on the semi-boring Swon Brothers at this point, it comes down to these two choices:

Or:

 

Really now, which one do we think is more likely to go down the mainstream path that leads to radio success and some much-needed credibility for show?

Yes, of course, the one who looks like Cinderella. This may sound cynical, even depressing. But televised singing competitions aren't in the business of throwing off the longstanding high school cliches that still grip us. Pop stars -- at least the fabricated ones that emerge on TV shows -- are supposed to be pretty and popular. And if The Voice wants to continue its reign as the hottest singing competition on TV, it had better crown a commercially viable winner. Whether or not we ever escape our adolescent selves is a debate that rages on. But on TV shows like this one, the cutest cheerleader is still on top. 

Jennifer Graham Kizer is an Atlanta-based writer who covers pop culture and watches too much TV. Luckily, iVillage gives her an excuse to watch even more. Follow her on Google+.

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