Billy Gilman Covers Adele in Leaked ‘The Voice’ Audition [Watch]
Former child star Billy Gilman auditioned for the new season of The Voice, and his audition tape — a cover of Adele's "When We Were Young" — has leaked online in advance of Tuesday night's (Sept. 20) episode, when it is scheduled to air.
The singer shot to overnight fame with the release of his debut single, “One Voice,” in 2000, making him the youngest country singer ever to score a Top 40 hit at 11 years old. Subsequent singles faltered, and the peak of his career was short-lived. Now 28, Gilman has struggled for a comeback since his voice changed, with country radio generally ignoring his music since then.
In August he posted to social media to let fans know he had auditioned for the reality singing competition, which in recent years has given second chances to several already-known singers, including former Steel Magnolia singer Meghan Linsey. The show has posted his entire audition online, and from the sound and look of it, Gilman has a real shot at reviving his career with this bold move.
In the video above, Gilman comes out onstage just like any other aspiring singer, facing the back of the judges' chairs as he begins to sing Adele's "When We Were Young." His voice is strong, clear and unwavering, and he employs excellent technique as he navigates the first verse, with the judges' interest clearly piqued from the beginning. Gilman builds his performance as the judges exchange glances, with Blake Shelton beginning to nod along and Adam Levine listening intently.
Levine is the first judge to turn his chair as Gilman effortlessly floats up to a high note in the middle of a phrase, followed shortly by Miley Cyrus as he brings that phrase to a close with a climactic note that's even higher. Shelton and Alicia Keys sit it out until the last second, when he brings his performance to a stirring close with a long, sustained high note that's undeniable.
Shelton indicates that he already knows Gilman once he turns and sees the face that goes with that voice, and Gilman tells the other judges and audience about his previous success.
"To finally be here at a moment when I can finally sing the way I wanted to even back then, and to finally stand here and be amongst you, it truthfully is such an honor," he tells the judges.
All of the judges were impressed by Gilman, but Levine is by far the most animated, unable to take his seat in his excitement. "That intangible quality that you possess is exactly what embodies the person that wins this show," he gushes. "You really could be the guy."
It winds up in a heated exchange, with Levine and Cyrus especially determined to win Gilman for their teams. But we won't know which one he chose until his episode airs Tuesday night on NBC at 8PM ET.
Gilman posted to Facebook to share his excitement, writing, "Well ... I have been up since 4am. The Voice decided to leak a little from tonight's show! I am a nervous wreck. Love you all and I thank you for sticking by me when a lot of people left. I know they'll be negativity and people not thinking I deserve a second chance. That will only make me more humbled and grateful at what this amazing show and all of you will enable. Never give up never stop dreaming and never stop being YOU."
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