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Hannah Huston

In Tuesday's "Live Finale" of "The Voice" on NBC, musician CeeLo Green performs with Nebraska's Hannah Huston.

Voters didn’t make Hannah Huston the winner of “The Voice” Tuesday night, but her coach, singer and record producer Pharrell Williams, said “she already won.”

And, in a way, the Arnold Elementary preschool teacher from Grand Island did, going from singing the occasional coffee house gig to performing in front of millions and reaching the finals of the popular NBC reality show.

“Being out here has given me the opportunity to show my kids, my students (that) they can do whatever they want,” Huston said during her “final confessional” on the 10th season finale, wiping away tears as she spoke. “It’s just made it all the more worth it to do it.”

Huston, 25, finished third.

Alisan Porter, who played the title character in the 1991 Jim Belushi film “Curly Sue,” won the competition, allowing her coach, Christina Aguilera, to become “The Voice’s” first woman to mentor a winner.

Adam Wakefield finished second, and Laith Al-Saadi was fourth.

Still, what a ride it was for Huston, who, with the other finalists, came away with a new Nissan for their efforts.

Her journey started after turning the chairs of three coaches – Williams, Aguilera and Blake Shelton – during blind auditions while performing Allen Stone’s “Unaware,” which showcased her raspy voice.

“I love Hannah,” Williams said. “It’s been amazing to watch her go from the blind audition all the way to the finale.”

Huston’s finish proved to be more – way more – than she expected.

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“I thought I would just sing a couple of songs,” she admitted. “I never had the thought that I would make it super far.”

Huston led off Tuesday’s two-hour episode singing a duet with former “Voice” coach CeeLo Green. They performed “Crazy,” the 2006 hit Green recorded with Danger Mouse as the soul duo Gnarls Barkley.

The duet came after a touching recap of Huston’s time with her coach.

“She’s cute and is always making funny faces, and her eyes are always crossing,” Williams said, affectionately. “She’s jokey, fun and bubbly and has the best outlook.”

Huston credited Williams for that outlook.

“Pharrell has taught me I can be as goofy and weird as I am,” she said. “So it is bittersweet it’s ending. I’ll miss it a ton. Like a ton.”

Huston returned to the stage before the first hour was out, performing with “Voice” contestants Bryan Bautista, Caity Peters and Brian Nhira on Adele’s “When We Were Young.”

Heading into the finale, iTunes sales helped bolster Huston’s vote total after her Monday night performances. When voting closed Tuesday morning, " her cover of The Police's "Every Breath You Take" sat No. 3 on the iTunes chart, and her original song, “I Call the Shots” was No. 7. Contestants placing songs in the top 10 had their votes multiplied.

Wakefield and Porter, however, also landed two songs in the top 10. Wakefield topped the charts with his original song "Lonesome Broken and Blue" and landed his cover of Vince Gill's "When I Call Your Name" at No. 9, while Porter's cover of "Somewhere" from "Westside Story" and her original "Down That Road" were Nos. 4 and 5.

Al-Saadi placed only one of his songs in the top 10, his original “Morning Light” at No. 6.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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