"The Voice" has had a long history of alums with serious showbiz experience--Season 1 winner Javier Colon was once signed to Capitol Records and fronted the Derek Trucks Band; Season 2 winner Jermaine Paul was Alicia Keys's backup singer; and reigning champion Cassadee Pope used to sing for the Pete Wentz-championed Decaydence/Columbia Records emo-pop band Hey Monday. But one Blind Auditioner for "The Voice" Season 4, which premieres in less than a week, just may have the most impressive résumé yet. And she just may be the next "Voice" winner.
That contestant's name is Judith Hill, and if she looks and sounds familiar, there's good reason for that. The 28-year-old diva was hired to be Michael Jackson's "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" duet partner for his This Is It tour in 2009, and after that tour was cancelled due to his tragic death, she performed "Heal The World" at his memorial, which was viewed by more than a billion people around the globe and by 31 million people in the U.S. alone. It's quite possible that you were one of those billion viewers, and that Judith made an immense impression on you with her immense talent.
Judith tells "Voice" producers that her "phone went crazy" with offers from record labels after her Michael memorial performance at Los Angeles's Staples Center, but that she thought the timing was wrong and it would be in poor taste to capitalize on his passing. (She did release an MJ tribute, "I Will Always Be Missing You," but it was only available as a free download from her website and then later as a charity single on iTunes, with all proceeds going to Childhelp U.S.) Now, however, Judith believes it's finally her time to shine…and that time will come on Monday, March 25, when her audition airs during "The Voice" Season 4's big premiere.
Obviously there will be many other Blind Auditions that follow Judith's, and if Season 4's talent level is anywhere near the level of Season 3 (arguably the best "Voice" season yet), she will face some stiff competition. But she already looks like the one to beat this year. In a new Season 4 preview clip, her cover of on-hiatus judge Christina Aguilera's "What A Girl Wants" inspires all four judges (including newbies Usher and Shakira) to spin their chairs, and then those judges get out of their chairs in a unison standing ovation. The ultra-competitive Adam Levine even stands on top of his chair in an attempt to persuade Judith to join his team. "You're the first person who's come on this show and done a Christina Aguilera song as well as Christina Aguilera," Adam tells Judith. And if Xtina was still on the panel this season, she might even agree.
You'll have to wait until next Monday to see which coach Judith chooses (whichever one it is, that coach will have a very strong advantage this season), but in the meantime, check out Judith's amazing Michael Jackson memorial performance from July 7, 2009: