Pentecostal pastor Todd Tilghman won The Voice Tuesday night after a moving performance of the Christian hit “I Can Only Imagine.”
Finalists included Tilghman, coached by judge Blake Shelton; Thunderstorm Artis, coached by Nick Jonas; and Toneisha Harris, also coached by Shelton.
Tilghman was surrounded by his wife of 21 years, Brooke, and their eight children, several of whom cried when their dad was announced the winner.
After Tilghman sang “I Can Only Imagine,” judge Kelly Clarkson fought back tears as she shared her thoughts:
“You are so moving, and it’s because you’re a pastor. It’s because you have a bigger belief inside of you than just yourself. I would love to come to your church just to hear you speak, not only sing. You’re very special.”
Tilghman laughed and said, “You’re invited! You’re invited. You’re special.”
Charisma News previously reported that Tilghman’s audition on The Voice got four chair turns after he sang “We’ve Got Tonight.” He told judges he grew up singing at church and was only used to singing for his congregation; he had never performed before the show.
Tilghman pastors Cornerstone Church in Meridian, Mississippi. He and Brooke married in 1998 and had three children, then decided to adopt a daughter from Korea. They later adopted her sister, then had three more biological children, reports Good Housekeeping.
Watch Tilghman’s virtual performance of “I Can Only Imagine” here.