All throughout the Voice, the contestants showcase their vocal talents by singing covers of other artists’ songs. Sometimes, a brave artist will choose to sing a song they wrote themselves, but that’s a rare occurrence.
However, the show flips the script in the finale. In addition to singing cover songs, the finalists get the chance to share an original song as well. Contestants who also write their own material will often share a piece from their own catalog, while other artists seek out songs from songwriters.
The latter action is what Todd Tilghman took when he went off in search of an original song to perform for the Season 18 finale. He landed on a track titled “Long Way Home,” which has an interesting history behind it.
“Long Way Home” was brought to the producers of another NBC series, Songland, by former Voice contestant Ryan Innes. Another Voice alum, Dustin Christensen, as well as Ester Dean, Shane McAnally, and Ryan Tedder also made contributions to the song.
McAnally and Dean co-produced the song, which was then pitched to Lady Antebellum on Songland. They passed on it, and chose to record “Champagne Night” instead.
That left “Long Way Home” free for someone else to take, and that someone else became Tilghman. Since the track originated with Innes, a former Voice contestant, McAnally felt like it was fate for the song to go to Tilghman.
“It’s meant to be man,” McAnally said.
He went on to speak to Tilghman’s coach Blake Shelton, saying he thought Tilghman was a “winner” and the song was the perfect fit for him. “…I think this song already sounds like it was part of his catalog,” McAnally commented.
We have to agree with McAnally, because as Tilghman sang “Long Way Home” on the first night of the Voice finale, he sang it in a way that made it sound like he had been doing so for years. His performance was hailed on social media as one of the best of the night.
Shelton was equally mesmerized with the song and Tilghman’s performance. He praised the 41-year-old pastor and father of eight, saying, “You can take an original song and breathe so much life into it that it just feels familiar. That’s your gift man, that’s how easy it is for you to speak to the audience.”
Tune in below to watch Tilghman share his original song, “Long Way Home.” He ended up winning his season, and this performance is surely part of the reason why!