Adam Levine hugs "The Voice" winner Javier Colon as host Carson… (Lewis Jacobs, NBC )
When viewers were first introduced to Javier Colon on "The Voice," he was just a guy with a backward baseball cap, crooning an affecting rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." Fast-forward nine weeks and Colon — now embracing sleek suits and a hat-free head — is booking appearances on "Today" and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" as the first winner of NBC's surprise hit talent competition.
"I feel some pressure," Colon said Wednesday after the show's finale. The 34-year-old singer-songwriter from Stratford, Conn., beat runner-up Dia Frampton and fellow finalists Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez.
"The first winner," he added, "[has] to go out there and show folks why you were [chosen] the winner. You got to prove that you deserve it."
Colon is not the only one with something to prove; NBC now faces the challenge of retaining its momentum.
Though "The Voice" finale was down by almost 2 million viewers from Tuesday's performance show — bringing in 10.8 million total viewers — it performed better than anything NBC has aired in its time slot in quite some time. And the series has consistently brought in strong numbers in the key advertising category of adults ages 18 to 49 since its April 26 premiere.
"It was a great first year," said host and NBC personality Carson Daly. "And we're already ready to get back to it. I think Season 2 can be even bigger and better."
Hoping to continue the winning streak, the network will use its coveted post-Super Bowl slot to air a special hour-long episode of the series, which is modeled after Holland's top-rated vocal talent discovery show, "The Voice of Holland." A premiere date for the second season has not been announced. It's a slot often given to highly touted new shows or current series with heavy growth potential. Last year, Fox put "Glee" in the slot. The year before that, CBS successfully launched "Undercover Boss" in the period.
And its cast of celebrity coaches — Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton — will all be on hand to bolster the show's winter return, the network confirmed Thursday.
"I'd love to come back," Levine told reporters after the finale. "I like to think I was a good coach."
Testing the show's endurance until then is a summer tour. The finalists, some of whom are already working on albums, will kick off the six-stop stint in Los Angeles later this month — around the same time that auditions for the second season get underway.
The next round of hopefuls seems to have its work cut out.
"Bring it," McClellan said. "Cause it's already been brought."