The winner of Season 9 of NBC’s “The Voice,” Jordan Smith, returned home recently, with a large crowd turning out to welcome him with a parade and other honors that were presented to him at a program on Monday.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley started things off by announcing to the crowd of hundreds of Team Jordan members there were many dignitaries in attendance, including Congressman Hal Rogers, state representatives Fitz Steele, Rick Nelson and Johnny Turner, as well as Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Sam Wright. Many local leaders were in the crowd as well.
“Jordan, you made us all so very proud,” said Mosley. “As each week passed, you continued to blow us away and set the bar even higher.”
Mosley told the crowd the reaction inside the Harlan Center on Dec. 15 was one of the most exciting experiences he has been a part of.
“When Jordan Smith walked out on the stage and sang “Chandelier” in the blind auditions, many of us would have bet the farm he would win — and he did,” Mosley told the exuberant crowd.
Rogers addressed the crowd next.
“I don’t know of another event or personality that has stirred this kind of enthusiasm and love and affection in eastern Kentucky,” Rogers said. “There’s no parallel.”
Rogers said he watched the finale from his condo in Washington D.C.
“When it was announced he had won, you probably could have heard me shout all the way down here,” said Rogers. “What a joy — and what a wonderful personality this man is.”
Grimes said each time Smith took the stage on “The Voice,” he brought pride to the area.
“We’re here today not only to tell you how you’ve inspired us — we will continue to have your back, because your journey has just begun,” Grimes said.
She then sprung a surprise on the crowd, bestowing on Smith the title of Kentucky Colonel.
“Not only is Jordan the winner of Season 9 of “The Voice,” but on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky it is my privilege and honor to now address you as Col. Jordan Smith,” said Grimes.
Throughout the program, Smith was awarded a number of honors. Mosley presented him the designation of Honorary Harlan County Coal Miner, the Harlan City Council awarded him the Key to the City and Harlan County Schools Superintendent Mike Howard announced the Harlan County Board of Education had decided to name the Fine Arts wing of Harlan County High School after him.
According to Mosley, Smith was also named Harlan Countian of the Year as well as the 2015 Kentucky Monthly Kentuckian of the Year.”
“I’d like to take a second to thank everybody…I’ve learned a lot, I’ve seen a lot of things, but it’s so good to be home,” Smith told the crowd. “I am nothing special, and while I appreciate all of this, I don’t quite deserve all of it because I am just a combination of all the people that have been important to me in my whole life.”
Smith acknowledged he had a large number of friends and family in the crowd.
“While I get to represent you…this is a win for all of you guys,” Smith said. “All I’ve done the entire time is be the person you made me into. I didn’t have to do anything or change anything or be anybody I’m not because of you guys. You guys made me this person. You guys did all this. It’s all you, it’s not me.”
Smith closed the program with a performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” His performance of the song on “The Voice” was one of his most popular during his time on the show.
“It’s so overwhelming to be back home after such a huge win,” said Smith after the program. “To come back here and spend (time) with my family in my hometown and celebrating with them was so special.”
Smith said he is still processing everything that has happened in the past week.
“It’s just crazy,” said Smith. “I’m so overwhelmed and I’m so grateful. I don’t have enough words to say how much it means to me.”
Smith plans to get to work making new music soon.
“Now I’m going to get a little bit of rest, relaxation and celebrate the holidays with my family,” Smith said. “Then I’m going to head back to L.A. and get started working just as quickly as I can to get some music out there.”
Smith also gave some words of encouragement.
“You’re never too old or too young for a new dream or for a dream to come true,” said Smith.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde