She is The Voice! Gina Miles has officially been crowned as the NBC singing competition’s season 23 champion.
The 19-year-old Illinois native secured the first-ever victory for first-time coach Niall Horan on The Voice’s Tuesday, May 23, season finale, beating out the likes of Team Blake Shelton‘s Grace West and NOIVAS, Team Kelly Clarkson’s D.Smooth and Team Chance the Rapper’s Sorelle.
Before her crowning moment, Miles expressed her gratitude to the former One Direction member, 29, stating that his “friendship and mentorship has been very special to me.” She continued: “Thank you for choosing me and giving me this opportunity. Love you.”
The “Slow Hands” singer celebrated his contestant’s win by giving Miles a big hug. Earlier in the episode, the pair took to the stage to perform a duet of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.”
Following her big win, Miles told the California local news station KCRA that her time on the show was the best experience of her life. “Me and my friends, like standing up there, just excited to be there at all,” the teen told the outlet. “I genuinely did not do this to win, I just did it for the experience and the people. And then they called my name, which was really crazy.”
The musician first wowed viewers and the coaches during a March episode of the Blind Auditions with her rendition of Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away,” earning chair turns from Horan and Clarkson, 41.
Her nervous demeanor was something Horan said he possessed during his early days with One Direction members Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson on the U.K. competition series The X Factor.
“I can see you, like, holding the mic with two hands, because I used to be, like, barely able to go onstage,” he told the young singer. “I’d be gripping the mic stand, holding on to the mic like you were doing right now.”
Horan went on to assure Miles that she would “grow into this competition” and that she had “so much more to give.”
Clarkson, for her part, was surprised that Miles had such a “giant singing voice” given her “small speaking voice.”
With guidance from “Nice To Meet Ya” singer, Miles continued to blossom over the course of the season with show-stopping performances of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and more.
Making it to season 23’s top five contestants is something Miles called a “dream come true” in a May 16 Instagram post. “@niallhoran and i are so excited for the finale and i can’t express how thankful i am,” she captioned pics of her semi-final performance. “Thank you guys for putting me through and of course congratulations to my fellow contestants. every single person did an amazing job.”
Keep scrolling for five things to know about Miles: