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Mississippi Pastor, Father of 8 Wows 'The Voice' Judges

(Image: Adobe Stock)
(Image: Adobe Stock)

A Mississippi pastor and father of eight stunned the four judge panel on 'The Voice,' and then got a standing ovation from the audience after his stellar performance on Feb. 24.

As the first contestant to appear on stage, Todd Tilghman performed his rendition of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band's "We've Got Tonight," One Country reports.

The a 41-year-old's performance earned him a standing ovation from judges Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Nick Jonas.

Tilghman is the lead pastor of Cornerstone Church in Meridian, MS.

He told The Meridian Star that choosing to audition for the show was difficult decision.

"I signed up, but that was a long time before the audition process," Tilghman said. "Before it was time to go I had decided not to go – making excuses like it was a long drive and we had a lot going on."

"My wife, Brooke, told me I would regret it if I didn't go. Thank God for her and thank God I changed my mind and decided to go. It's been like a dream. Everyone keeps telling me to just soak it in, but it's hard to do because you just can't believe you are really there," he added.

Tilghman told the judges that he has never performed anywhere other than in church.

"I've literally never performed," Tilghman says. "I just sing at church."

Legend told the performer he could see "the joy and the spirit" within Tilghman.

Tilghman described the experience of competing on the show as surreal.

"They tell you backstage that you are going to take that stage with total silence and I was so nervous, but when I got on stage I felt remarkably calm," Tilghman said. "But once the chairs started turning all the plans went out the window and I just sang the song."

Tilghman confessed that it was difficult to choose a coach, because he feels all of the judges are so talented. Yet he felt a bond between himself and Shelton.

"All of the coaches are so established in the music field and I felt like any of them could help me in that regard, but Blake on a personal level seemed more like me," Tilghman said. "He likes to joke and cut up and that's how I do in my life. He's just more like me as a person."

Tilghman ultimately chose Shelton as his coach and will be a member of Team Blake as the season continues.

Shelton told the aspiring star that his energy and passion for performing was evident.

"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 ahold of. And you got a great hop," Shelton said, referencing Todd's energy on stage.

"That's a holy hop. You are so amped up and it reminds me why I continue to want to be a coach on this show is to work with people like you," Shelton concluded.

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