'The Voice' season 11 winner: How country music rules

Another winner was named on the NBC reality competition 'The Voice.' Country music, the genre embraced by the show's champion, has continued to be successful in pop culture.

Tyler Golden/NBC/File
'The Voice' competitors Sundance Head (l.) and Billy Gilman (r.) appear on the program.

The NBC hit reality competition “The Voice” has crowned its latest winner, with singer Sundance Head being named as the champion of the show’s 11th season. 

Mr. Head won out over fellow competitors Billy Gilman, Josh Gallagher, and Wé McDonald. Head, who also competed on the Fox reality competition “American Idol” and made it to 13th place on the show when he competed in 2007, was coached by country singer Blake Shelton. 

With Head’s win, Mr. Shelton has now steered five of the “Voice” contestants to victory – making him the show's most successful coach.

Head, who says he embraces a mixture of soul and country in his music, joins a string of “Voice” contestants to perform with a country sound.

Head’s competitor Mr. Gallagher also performed country music on the show, and Mr. Gilman became a country singer at a young age, though he performed many pop songs on the show. 

Two of the more famous winners from "The Voice," singers Danielle Bradbery and Cassadee Pope, are both of the country genre, while country singer Carrie Underwood became one of the most famous winners from "American Idol," ranking as the "AI" winner who has sold the most albums in the US.

The country music genre has continued to be a major presence in American pop music in general, to such an extent that singers identified with the music have recently popped up in pop hits as well. Wired writer Jeffrey Marlow noted last year that country music group Florida Georgia Line has collaborated with rapper Nelly, while singer Taylor Swift, one of the most successful music acts around at the moment, started out in country music and established a solid fan base before crossing over to pop.

Forbes writer Brittany Hodak noted the genre’s continuing popularity earlier this year, writing “There’s no disputing that on radio dials, country music is king."

What's part of the appeal for contemporary listeners? Mr. Marlow writes, "It’s the stories [found in country music], as well as the sense of nostalgia, simplicity, and direct experience with the forces in our lives, that seem to be striking a cultural chord.” 

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