About halfway through the finale of "The Voice" on Tuesday night, there was a clue that Girl Named Tom had a strong chance to win the 21st season of the NBC singing competition.
Show emcee Carson Daly mentioned that Girl Named Tom had made history: They were the first act on the show to have four songs on the iTunes Top 10 list at the same time.
About one hour later, Daly, on live TV, read the final vote results: The sibling trio with South Bend ties had indeed claimed "The Voice" trophy. They also won $100,000 and a recording contract.
The group finished ahead of Wendy Moten. Paris Willingham was third, with Hailey Mia in fourth. Fifth place went to Jershika Maple.
"You have a huge fan base behind you," celebrity coach Kelly Clarkson told Girl Named Tom just before the final results were announced. "Let's capitalize on that, let's keep it going. I'm Team GNT forever."
But there was a bittersweet tone to the victory for the group — made up of Caleb, Joshua and Bekah Liechty. In a statement they posted on Twitter after Tuesday's show, the siblings said their father was "in horrific pain" after a surgery and that they would be flying to Ohio "as soon as possible" to be with family. Their father has been battling cancer since 2017.
The siblings said they were still "fortunate and blessed" by the "joyful distraction" of the show and thanked all their fans.
"Keep being positive, hope-filled beams of light in every corner of the world," the statement said. "Of course this is NOT goodbye. We have dozens of new songs that we cannot wait to share with you."
Fleetwood Mac song earns praise
The songs were their final chances to earns viewers' votes.
Girl Named Tom was the first trio in "Voice" history to make the finals. They were solidly in the running throughout the season by beating out competing acts and then securing enough votes each week to keep advancing.
Clarkson praised the group for choosing the Fleetwood Mac song, adding that she was "so glad this song was in your back pocket."
And in the group's last song Monday, the group and the celebrities were greeted by feedback from the stage that audibly distressed the judges during the live telecast.
"There's a sound behind you that's really jarring, that I'm trying to ignore," Ariana Grande said.
Daly turned off the buzzing, but not before Clarkson yelled, "You broke the stage!"
Ties to South Bend and Goshen
The siblings are originally from Pettisville, Ohio, but they moved to South Bend last year because Joshua’s girlfriend was an Indiana University medical student in South Bend.
Also, Caleb and Joshua both graduated from Goshen College, where the group performed last month. The brothers were on a pre-med track but minored in music and decided to team with their sister to pursue a music career.
On Wednesday, in response to Girl Named Tom's victory and the tweet the group issued about their father's health problems, Goshen College released the following tweet: "As we continue to celebrate Caleb Liechty ’18, Joshua Liechty ’19 and Bekah on winning The Voice, we also want to show our support for their whole family, including their parents Chris and Holly (both class of 1988), as they navigate these health issues. We love and admire this entire family!”
The siblings have attributed their love of music to their parents and to singing in the Mennonite church as children.
Girl Named Tom has released three albums independently, posted several videos on YouTube and toured nationally.
Caleb is now 26 and Joshua is 24. Bekah celebrated her 21st birthday on the same day that Girl Named Tom squared off in its victorious battle round versus fellow contestant Kinsey Rose.
Email South Bend Tribune reporter Greg Swiercz at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: 'The Voice': Girl Named Tom, trio with South Bend ties, claims crown