Q&A: Judith Hill on Her Shocking Elimination From 'The Voice'
Judith Hill performs on 'The Voice', Photo by Tyler Golden/NBC
Judith Hill auditioned for The Voice hoping for a shot at fame just like everyone else, landing on coach Adam Levine's team after a four-chair turn during the blind auditions. She quickly moved to the head of the class because of her stellar powerhouse vocals, seasoned stage presence and her close connection to Michael Jackson. (Before Jackson's death, she landed a gig on his ill-fated This Is It tour as his duet partner and sang at his memorial service.) Labeled a frontrunner early on, Hill was eliminated from the competition in a shocking upset earlier this week alongside teammate Sarah Simmons.
Hill called Rolling Stone while in New York to speak about getting the boot, Levine's controversial "I hate this country" remark and how working with Jackson may have sealed her fate on the show.
Were you shocked by your elimination?
I had such a blast during Monday night's performance [of will.i.am's "#thatpower"]. I felt like it was really the first time I could let my hair down. I was really happy I got to do that, so I went into Tuesday's elimination more confident and feeling like, "OK, I gave a great performance last night." So, yeah, it kind of took me by surprise.
In retrospect, would you have changed your song selection?
Honestly, no. I chose that song for many reasons. One, the lyric really stood out to me and, especially coming off of doing the Michael Jackson song the week before, I wanted to do something very celebratory, and "#thatpower" is so positive. Just the words, "I'm alive, I can fly, I got that power," it was the perfect lyric for me and I really connected with it. Also, the song gave me a chance to really stretch out musically and do something unique onstage. I felt like it was an important moment for me.
Is that the type of music you'd like to do going forward?
That's my style. When I do uptempo songs, I like to bring in the funk and world music and different elements. That song in its raw form is not particularly my style, because I'm not a dance artist, but it gave me a chance to create more of a soul-funk vibe, which is definitely my style.
Right before you and Sarah were eliminated, Adam was caught muttering, "I hate this country." What do you think about that whole controversy?
Adam is a very passionate guy. I think he was just speaking in the moment with the frustration of Sarah and I leaving. I don't think he meant it literally. It was just that Team Adam took a really hard hit.
What did he say to you right after you got eliminated?
He was like, "Don't forget, this is a game show. It has no bearing on who you are as an artist. Don't let this stop you." He was very encouraging.
Who do you think will win?
Oh man, at this point, anything can happen, as you can see. Michelle [Chamuel], Danielle [Bradbery], Sasha [Allen]. . . but really anyone could win. Amber [Carrington]. It's hard to say. All of them are great.
Is there an artist whose career you'd like to emulate?
Lauryn Hill's always been a hero of mine. And Bruno Mars, Janelle Monáe and Adele, those are the current artists I would reference in terms of who's been able to do really amazing pop records with really cool, organic throwback elements of soul in there as well.