Todd Tilghman, a pastor from Mississippi, was crowned winner of “The Voice” Tuesday night. He included in his finale performance MercyMe’s crossover hit “I Can Only Imagine."
He tweeted after his win, "I wish I knew how to say thank you. And I wish y’all knew how much I respect and admire my new friends and fellow artists/contestants on @NBCTheVoice. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to process, but I sure am #grateful for every moment."
The lead pastor of Cornerstone Church in Meridian made his way to the top on season 18 after advancing from nine singers. Tilghman, who was on Team Blake, meaning he’s coached by country star Blake Shelton, first performed the new single “Long Way Home.”
His performance, which was done remotely due to pandemic restrictions, was praised as “incredible” by Shelton.
His next performance of the competition was the Christian hit “I Can Only Imagine”
“Pastor, we love seeing your journey throughout this whole season,” coach John Legend told him.
A tearful Kelly Clarkson added, “Literally, you are so moving. It’s because you are a pastor, because you have such a bigger belief inside you than just yourself. I would love to come to your church just to hear you speak, not only sing. You’re very special.”
Shelton praised him for “the connection you have with people.”
In the finale, Tilghman also performed alongside his coach Shelton the John Mellencamp hit "Authority Song,"
The minster was surrounded by his wife of 21 years and their eight children as host Carson Daly named him the winner of the singing competition.
Along with singing remotely for the competition, the COVID-19 gathering restrictions forced Tilghman’s church to host services virtually as well. The pastor preached a fitting message this month from Matthew 25:14-19, the parable of the Talents, which streamed live on Facebook.
“Take those talents that the Master gave you before we were separated and multiply those during this time, so that when we come back together, you’ll come back with more than you left with,” he told members of Cornerstone in his sermon.