Billy Gilman continues to rise up the ranks of contestants on “The Voice” with his powerful performance of “Fight Song” on Tuesday’s knockout round. He secured a place in the live shows with his stirring rendition of Rachel Platten‘s tune. (Watch above).
This one-time child star is now 28 and has spoken candidly about his career highs and lows. We had a reminder of his storied past when country crooners (and married couple) Tim McGraw and Faith Hill acted as his mentors on Tuesday’s episode of “The Voice.”
Back in 2000, Gilman’s debut single, “One Voice,” made music history. At age 11, he became the youngest-ever artist to make it onto the top 20 Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The album of the same name went double platinum while his follow-up, “Dare to Dream,” and “Classic Christmas” both went gold. Gilman contended for Best Male Country Vocal Performance at the 2001 Grammys for “One Voice” but was bested by the legendary Johnny Cash and his performance of “Solitary Man.”
As often happens with child stars, Gilman saw his fortunes change for the worse as he grew up and he was dropped by his record label, Nashville Epic, when his voice changed. In the decade since, Gilman has come out as gay and reinvented himself as a pop singer.
To recap, Gilman had all four judges turn around with his Blind Audition song choice: Adele‘s “When We Were Young.” He went with Adam Levine, who was the first judge to hit his button, although both Blake Shelton and Miley Cyrus said they remembered him from his early days in Nashville.
In the Battle round, he and Andrew DeMuro both performed Michael Jackson‘s classic “Man in the Mirror” and Gilman won Levine over. This week, he chose his own song and opted for the uplifting “Fight Song.” His opponent, Ponciano Seoane, decided on Ed Sheeran‘s “I See Fire.”
While Seoane impressed the other judges and Levine, who called his performance “heartbreaking,” in the end he decided to go with Gilman as he believes he can “win this thing.” And Gilman let his growing fan base know how he felt on Twitter: “I am so BEYOND GRATEFUL. Can’t stop crying happy tears. It’s been a long road. You all are amazing. Who’s ready for lives!?”