‘The Voice’s Todd Tilghman Reflects on His Record-Breaking Season 18 Win

The Voice Season 18 Todd Tilghman
Mitchell Haddad/NBC

The Voice crowned its Season 18 champion during the show’s first remote finale on Tuesday, May 19, making the 41-year-old Todd Tilghman the series’ oldest winner.

The pastor from Mississippi won over viewers with his undeniable talent and charisma as he performed both from Hollywood and at home. An early favorite, Tilghman’s triumph is made all the more joyful by the shared celebration with his wife and eight children, who were able to experience the life-changing news together.

TV Insider caught up with Tilghman after his record-breaking win, and he revealed his hopes for the future, what it’s like working with coach Blake Shelton, and more.

Congratulations on your big win, how are you feeling?

Todd Tilghman: Honestly, I just feel tired. [Laughs] You know, I am the oldest person to ever win The Voice [Laughs]. So, right now, I’m just tired. It’s exciting and it’s been so much, I don’t think I’ve really had time to process it all.

How does it feel to be breaking a record as The Voice‘s oldest winner?

You know what? I’ll take it! I hope what I have done with The Voice could be an inspiration to other people that it’s never too late to give it a shot.

The Voice Season 18

(Credit: NBC)

You’ve had quite a unique experience with the show by going remote. What challenges did you face by performing at home?

You do learn to draw from the deepest places of yourself when you’re singing these songs because you can’t draw off of the audience, you can’t pull any energy from there, which is invaluable to a person who sings on the stage. On a more practical side, [the crew has] been very good to us. They’ve talked us through every single step, setting up all of the lighting and camera. That can be a bit of a challenge, so thank God that the people who work with The Voice were so patient with us. [Laughs]

When the world is less socially distant, do you and your family have any special plans to celebrate your win?

When we found out I made the live shows, my wife promised our kids that if we won, we would go to Disney World. So once that starts opening back up, I guess we’ll have to make plans to go in that direction. But that’s really it. I’m sort of a simple man and it’s so funny, when you’re on the show, they’re like, “make sure you don’t wear logos,” and I’m like “I don’t really have logos. I just have plain clothes.” [Laughs] But that’s something that we look to do to celebrate whenever we’re able to.

Speaking of family, the Tilghmans are becoming fixtures in the NBC competition show universe as your son Eagan appeared in \. Are there any plans for more family members to compete on other shows?

Nothing right now. [Laughs] It’s so weird and I realize that it is so hard for people to believe, but we just didn’t consider that. I’m pretty sure when I signed up to go audition, Eagan was already fully immersed in all the stuff going on with Making It. Even in our household, we didn’t really connect those dots until later.

You seemed to get close with your coach Blake Shelton. What kind of conversations have you had about the future of your career and juggling it with your current role as a pastor in your community?

I want to take these relationships that I’ve built while I was on The Voice with these people who have reached out to me, and I just want to glean and learn from them. I know that my life is going to drastically change, but I don’t know exactly what all that means just yet. So the very first thing I want to do is learn under these people that are successful while I’m working on music and work toward getting that music out there.

Todd Tilghman the voice

(Credit: NBC)

While you were filming from home, were you able to chat with Blake to help prepare for your performances?

We didn’t really chat much outside of production, but while we were in production I do think we had plenty of time to have a little talk and then get to business, you know? I think it was way more personal. I feel like we got to know each other better this way.

How did being at home make this experience special?

It’s hard to explain, ’cause everyone of us has different families, lives and circumstances, but for a guy like me, doing it from home did make things a little more stressful because there’s a lot of people in my life that are pulling on me in every different direction and not just my family. When you’re in L.A., they can’t because you’re not anywhere near home, and so I did feel a little bit stretched. But then the flip side — and to me, the more valuable side of that — is when I saw the Top 9 performance played back. I could have never had that experience had I been in L.A..

What has fan response been like?

It has been so insane, everyone has been so good to me. It makes me feel so humble. I’ve had like a thousand people since yesterday say, “you deserve this.” I’m very thankful for it but I would not say I deserve it, you know? And then even locally, someone walked up here yesterday before the finale for well wishes and they had a T-shirt with my face on it. [Laughs] That’s just so nuts to me. They had a parade too with the social distancing, they basically just drove by our house and threw candy. [Laughs] It was probably a hundred cars!

Since you weren’t together in Los Angeles, were you able to connect with your fellow competitors and bond?

Yeah, we chatted and texted one another encouragement on result days. When we did media tours, it was a lot of fun, because between interviews we could talk to each other which we felt super deprived of doing. We do text, I was just texting with CammWess a little bit.

Blake Shelton Todd Tilghman

(Credit: NBC)

After your win, is there a dream collaborator you’d love to work with?

I would love, especially just because the type of guy I am and the generation that I come from, to work with Dolly Parton. And I would love to work with Garth Brooks, but I’m not a strictly super-country guy. John Legend would be [fun] for me, because he has such a beautiful, smooth velvety voice.