Navigating Fame—and Faith—on NBC’s “The Voice”

Image: Trae Patton/NBC Jordan Smith on 'The Voice'
Image: Trae Patton/NBC
Jordan Smith on ‘The Voice’

Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and Pharrell Williams stare as you step on stage—and there’s a sea of people behind them. The lights dim. This is it: your time to shine. What you do tonight may determine the rest of your career—whether or not your dreams will come true.

The music sweeps in, and you begin singing . . . a century-old hymn?

To Emily Ann Roberts, it seemed like the obvious thing to do.

Season 9 of the popular NBC vocal competition show The Voice (which concluded on December 15) brought several young artists into the spotlight with one thing in common: their faith in Christ. Roberts, pop hopeful Jordan Smith, and youthful crooner Braiden Sunshine each chose to use their moment on national television to exalt Christ in a bold way—singing hymns.

On a show like The Voice, song choice is extremely important. Choosing the wrong one could mean the difference between staying another week, one step closer to a dream career, and returning home empty-handed. But Roberts knew there was something more important to consider than her own success.

“This show gave me such an incredible platform to really share my heart and share who I live for,” she told me when we spoke. “So regardless of how it would affect the outcome with voting or moving forward, I wanted to be able to sing about Jesus, especially since all of my success and the opportunity of being on this show is from him.”

The 17-year-old country artist chose to sing “In the Garden,” originally published in 1912, for her performance in the Live Playoffs round. “I’ve always loved this hymn. It was my grandfather’s favorite hymn, and it is just a beautiful song about walking and talking with Jesus and having a relationship with him and how precious that is,” she says of the tune.

Though others may have been nervous about choosing such an unconventional song, especially one so unmistakably Christian, Roberts says she wasn’t worried.

“I knew that no matter what happened, I was doing what I came here to accomplish,” she explains. “Since my journey on the show started, I was praying for an opportunity to share my faith, and this song and the timing of it was perfect. For me, it’s not about winning, but just singing from my heart and enjoying this opportunity.”

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Laura McClellan

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