Although I’ve only been a fan of NBC’s “The Voice” for two seasons, I’m completely enamored of it. I went from merely liking the show to loving it because of this past week’s episode. What happened? Before one of Adam Levine’s team members performed, the show did a short video vignette about her. The performer was Judith Hill, a 28-year-old singer from Los Angeles. Hill, who is half African American and half Japanese, had this to say about her childhood: “Growing up biracial, I never felt that I fit in. I would sit by myself at lunch and kids would make fun of me. But here I feel that I fit in.”
I had already liked Hill before that statement because she has a beautiful, soulful voice, but after she revealed this I felt a close bond with her. I respected her immensely. I also grew up biracial (half white/half Korean). When I lived in Korea I wasn’t fully accepted by the Korean kids. When I visited my grandparents in Oklahoma I wasn’t accept there, either. But I finally learned to fit in with people who were also passionate about writing and music, and who shared my sense of humor, and now I’m happy. Hill is doing the same thing through her singing, and it’s obvious that she’s happy because of her amazing sense of comfort and grace on stage.
Watch her sing Carole King’s 1971 hit “You’ve Got a Friend” while also playing the piano:
The fact that the show shared this personal message about Judith is one of many reasons why I think The Voice is a perfect example of a “Mixed Nation.” Judith, who is an R&B singer, is one of the final ten contestants on the show. The other nine contestants are a diverse group of singers who not only look different, but also sing different genres of music. But what makes them a “family” is their shared ability to captivate the audience every week with their powerful voices.
Judith is a member of Adam Levine’s team. Adam, who is the lead singer of Maroon Five, also has a rock/soul/blues singer and a country singer on his team. Then you have Latin pop sensation Shakira. She has a pop/soul singer and a rock/soul singer (who is a mother of two) on her team. R&B sensation Usher, has a model-turned singer and an indie pop singer on his team. Then there’s country star Blake Shelton, who has two female country singers on his team (one who is only sixteen). Now that’s a mixed group of individuals!
As if the contestants and judges weren’t diverse enough, so are the songs that are performed. The coaches try to push the boundaries of their performer’s vocals, having them sing everything from ‘80s power ballads and Motown hits to rock classics and current pop songs.
One of my favorite breakout performances was from Team Usher’s Michelle Chamuel, who also claimed she never fit in with others. She sang a beautiful version of Cyndi Lauper’s 1986 hit “True Colors.” Chamuel may not look like the typical singer you see on the cover of an album, but it’s her voice and passion for singing that makes you want to be her biggest fan.
That’s why The Voice is so wonderful. You’re not judged by your appearance, but by your talent. The show accepts everyone.
Even if you don’t like reality shows or singing competitions, I encourage you to watch this show for the mere diversity of it. I know that you’ll fall in love with the performers and songs like I have, and you’ll be inspired to pursue your goals and not worry about what others think of you. You may even find your own voice.
The Voice airs Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on NBC.