Todd Tilghman, a pastor in Meridian, Mississippi and a father of eight, is one step closer to winning the popular singing competition and television show “The Voice.” On Tuesday night, Tilghman was the first to be spared from elimination as he advanced to one of the top nine spots. He will go on to compete for a spot in the show’s finals.
Tilghman, whose voice was compared to the raspy style of Chris Stapleton and Kenny Rogers by show judge Kelly Clarkson, performed Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” from what looks like the sanctuary of the church he leads in Mississippi. Due to social distancing measures currently in place, each of the contestants performed from home while the judges weighed in from their respective homes.
After his performance, an ecstatic Blake Shelton told Tilghman “You are one of my favorite artists that I’ve ever worked with.”
Tilghman chose Shelton to be his coach after receiving the first “four-chair turn” of the season from judges in February during his audition. When contestants audition for “The Voice”, the judges don’t face them until after they’ve started singing. If a judge turns his or her chair to see the contestant, that is an indication that he or she would like to coach the contestant for the season. At the time, all four judges indicated they would be happy to coach Tilghman, but the pastor chose Shelton because “our personalities seemed more alike to me,” as he told Voice Views.
Todd Tilghman Pastors and Leads Worship
Before The Voice, nearly all of Tilghman’s singing experience came from church. In February, he told judges Shelton, Clarson, John Legend, and Nick Jonas “I’ve literally never performed. I just sing at church.” In addition to being the senior pastor at Cornerstone Church in Meridian, Tilghman leads worship nearly every week. During one week of the competition, the singers were partnered up with another contestant to sing a duet. Tilghman said his experience singing in a worship band helped him out in that scenario: “All the years singing with a team of singers in church probably gave me a level of comfort singing with someone else, and I’d say that also taught me a little about performing as a team,” Tilghman said in an interview with Mark Franklin.
Tilghman grew up in Meridian and married his high school sweetheart, Brooke. His congregation has been behind his journey from the beginning. Before social distancing measures were in place, the church gathered at a local theater to watch the results of Tilghman’s audition in February.
Like most other pastors during this unprecedented time, Tilghman has been live streaming his sermons every Sunday while his congregants stay home.
Most recently, friends and congregation members showed their support for the small-town pastor with a drive-by parade.
Of course, while expressing appreciation for the community-wide support, the father of eight calls his family “the fan club that matters most.”
— Todd Tilghman (@todd_tilghman) April 14, 2020
The next time Todd Tilghman will perform is May 11 on NBC.