It’s official: Chevel Shepherd has won Season 15 of The Voice! The 16-year-old beat out Team Blake’s country artists Chris Kroeze and Kirk Jay along with Team Jennifer’s fierce pop singer Kennedy Holmes in Tuesday’s grand two-hour finale. This marks back-to-back wins for coach Kelly Clarkson, whose artist Brynn Cartelli took home top prize in Season 14.
And while the win came as a surprise to the audience, it was even more shocking to Shepherd, who did not expect host Carson Daly to call her name. “I had no idea what was gonna happen. It could have gone either way,” she told TV Guide. “Carson [Daly] called my name and the pause in between him saying, ‘The winner of The Voice is’ and ‘Chevel Shepherd’ was the longest time of my life. It felt like a year [had passed].”
The spunky teen first impressed Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Blake Shelton with her sweet cover of The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” during the blind auditions and then stunned everyone by choosing to team up with her idol Clarkson over Shelton, the latter being who most country singers flock to. “I went in wanting to choose Blake. But after they all turned [their chairs] and started talking to me, my gut was telling me to go with Kelly and so I did. Any coach would have been great,” she explained.
The bold choice proved to be a smart one and Shepherd remained a strong performer throughout the competition. Her bubbly personality and affinity for country music also earned her the nickname “Country Tinkerbell” from Clarkson and turned her into an immediate fan favorite.
With the Voice trophy officially under her belt, Shepherd says she’s returning to her hometown to “be a normal teenager for a little bit” and thank everyone for their support in person. Plus, you might find her watching a certain CBS procedural in her downtime.
“I love Criminal Minds,” she revealed. “I always watch with my mom. I like mystery shows and my backup plan if this doesn’t work out — which I’m hoping it does — I would like to be a forensic profiler. Like putting a puzzle together and figuring out who murdered who and why they did it. That sounds weird but it’s cool.” In case you’re wondering, she’s also super into the CW’s criminally good teen drama Riverdale.
And while her time on The Voice may be over, that doesn’t mean her epic friendship with Clarkson has also ended. “I want her to stick around as long as forever. I love her so much,” she said. “We talked about working on an album together and doing concerts together.”
With Clarkson bringing last season’s winner on tour with her, there’s a good chance we’ll see Shepherd reunite with her Voice coach in the near future.
The Voice returns with new judge John Legend, who replaces Jennifer Hudson, Monday, Feb. 25 at 8/7c on NBC.