‘The Voice': Raspy-Voiced Pastor Scores Four-Chair Turn, Spurs Holy War Between Coaches
The Blind Auditions for Season 18 of The Voice launched on Monday (Feb. 24), with returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend; plus new coach Nick Jonas (who replaced last season's Gwen Stefani).
The very first contestant of the night managed to spin all four chairs with a smoky rendition of Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight." When it came time to introduce himself, the singer, Todd Tilghman, had a compelling story to go along with his magnetic vocals.
"I'm 41 years old, and I'm from Meridian, Mississippi," he told the coaches. "I am married for 21 years to my beautiful wife, Brooke. And we have eight kids. Two are adopted."
As the coaches looked on, enthralled, he continued: "The biggest running joke in our family is that my wife said she wanted three kids, and I wanted two, so we compromised on eight...After we had the three boys, I really just began to feel the pull of adoption. In 2010 is when we flew to Korea to get [our daughter] Judah. You know, when I saw her, it was just, like, this instant connection, like, 'This is our child.'
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"And then we had a phone call from the adoption agency, and they told us Judah had a baby sister born from the same biological mother. We just said yes. And then after that, we had three more!"
As impressive as Tilghman's large family was, what really got the coaches going was the news that he is a pastor, and has all his singing experience at church.
Coach Legend chimed in first with his background growing up in the church. "I was at church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, sometimes Friday night," he asserted.
Newbie coach Jonas topped that neatly: "I'm actually a pastor's kid. My most fond memories were with my dad at the piano singing praise and worship songs. Do you know Phillips, Craig and Dean?" he offered. Tilghman did indeed, and the two traded off verses to the delight of the crowd.
Clarkson, who admired Tilghman's "Chris Stapleton, Kenny Rogers" rasp, tried a slightly different tack at first. "I have a lot of kiddos, too. We have four, and it's a lot to hold down," she said, but couldn't resist adding, "I grew up singing in church, too."
Shelton (somewhat rebelliously?) coolly avoided any discussion of church involvement, merely noting, "I love your voice. I love the passion. I love the range. I love how not-smooth it is. It gives you something to get a hold of. And you got a great hop," he added.
"I go to a Pentecostal church, so I've been working on the hop," said Tilghman, bringing the subject back to church. Shelton obliged, responding, "That's a holy hop."
When it came to choosing a team, Tilghman decided on the sole coach who didn't mention church -- Shelton, of course; stating that he felt he had a "relatable personality" thing going on. Go figure.
"I figured it out," noted Clarkson dryly. "He’s trying to save your soul. He figured we were all safe."
We'll be following along each week to see how things progress on the show, so be sure to check to see how all your favorites fare as the coaches build their teams.
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