West Hartford father of two Javier Colon was named the winner Wednesday night of NBC's singing competition "The Voice."
The graduate, 34, competed Tuesday night in a live show against other finalists Dia Frampton, Beverly McClellan, and Vicci Martinez. The original song he sang on Tuesday's competition, "Stitch by Stich" was No. 2 on iTunes the next day, according to the show's host, Carson Daly. Frampton's song was No. 1.
Colon was a leader throughout the competition. In his first appearance on the show — during which the judges listen but don't see the performers — he sang Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," and all four judges turned their chairs around to volunteer to coach him. Colon chose Maroon 5's Adam Levine as his mentor.
The win gives Colon a second chance in the music business. He sang with EmcQ and the Derek Trucks Band before starting a solo career with Capitol Records, but the label eventually dropped him.
In an interview on Tuesday, Colon had nothing but gratitude for the support from his adopted hometown.
“I want to thank people in West Hartford, including everyone at Hartt and the whole University of Hartford, for their support. Hartt was how I fell in love with West Hartford in the first place," Colon said. “I’m going to do my best to bring the title home."
A tour of the top eight finalists of "The Voice" begins in July and stops in Wallingford on Aug. 5 at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre. For more information on the tour, click here.
Some of Colon's closest supporters gathered Wednesday at the Savin Rock Roasting Company restaurant in Stratford, where Colon grew up, to watch the singing competition’s results show.
“The guy you see on screen is the same guy you see backstage,” said Tom Stepkoski, who, with his wife Adrienne, saw Colon perform on May 26 at the Ridgefield Playhouse. Adrienne Stepkoski and Colon are both graduates of Stratford’s Bunnell High School Class of 1995. She said she wasn’t sure if her former classmate would remember her when she went backstage to “meet” him at the Ridgefield show, because it had been 16 years since they last saw each other.
But he did. “He said, ‘Oh, you look the same you did how many years ago?’” said Stepkoski, adding that she thinks Colon will use this win to be a positive role model for kids.
Another 1995 Bunnell High grad, Amy Taylor, also attended the Ridgefield show. She said she had a meet-and-greet with Colon before the performance and also wasn’t sure if he would recognize her from their high school days: “I said, ‘We’re here to meet you,’ and he said, ‘You already know me.’”
“It was cute,” said Taylor. “He’s so down-to-earth.”
“The Voice” paired singing contestants with contemporary music icons that coached them through the contest performance process. However, the four coaches also had to eliminate members from their teams, which started with eight members each. Levine picked Colon out of his group to compete against the best the three other team leaders had to offer. After that episode, which aired live Tuesday night, it was up to fans to vote and decide the inaugural show’s winner.
At Wednesday’s results show, a choked up Levine called Colon “one of his heroes.”
Throughout the show’s run it was broadcast that Colon was a husband and father of two, and that “The Voice” might be his last stab at making it big in the music business.
“He’s a star and we always knew it,” said Taylor. “He just needed the right exposure. [The show] is totally going to open up new doors for him.”
"Thank you. I don't even know where to begin," said a humble Colon on the show after being named winner of the first season. "I want to thank everyone at home who believed in me and voted for me, and my family."
Kevin Studley was a seventh-grade chorus classmate of Colon’s. Even at a young age, he said, it was easy to spot Colon's talent.
“We all knew it. It was no secret he could sing,” he said. “And you knew he loved it, you could tell by watching him.”