Christian college student wins TV singing contest The Voice

by Samantha Gobba
Posted 12/16/15, 03:22 pm

Evangelical college Lee University turned out another singing star Tuesday night when Jordan Smith, 21, took first place in the popular television competition The Voice.

Smith, a senior and member of the Lee Singers, stunned the four judges earlier in the season during blind auditions with his rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier.” With a voice that some say rivals Adele's, his soaring, pitch-perfect sound filled the judges’ faces with wonder from the first note. The audience members and judges gave Smith a standing ovation.

“I don’t know if I’m happy or really scared,” Smith said as artist Gwen Stefani, a judge on the show, rushed the stage to give him a big hug.

Overweight and bespectacled, Smith doesn’t have the typical pop star image. But his win on The Voice has landed him a record deal that could pull him into the Christian music limelight.

Already his hits, including his performance of “Mary, Did You Know,” have topped iTunes charts. He also competed on the show with “Climb Every Mountain,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” and “Hallelujah,” among others.

“All I can think of is God when he sings,” Stefani said.

Smith chose voice coach Adam Levine, frontman for Maroon 5, who tweeted during the premier in September, “Jordan!!!! Are you a unicorn? Did I just find a unicorn?,” to which Smith tweeted back, “I’m not saying I’m a unicorn, you’ve just never seen me and a unicorn in a room at the same time.”

Lee University is a private liberal arts college of about 5,000 students. Started by the Church of God, the Cleveland, Tenn., school states its mission is “to provide education that integrates biblical truth as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.” 

That education has led many of its students to excel on the national stage. Earlier this year, Lee graduate Clark Beckham was runner-up of American Idol Season 14, and in 2013, the Lee choir sang at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Darren Echols, director of admissions at Lee, admitted the school appreciated all the publicity that has come with its students’ television success.

“It’s crazy for a school like Lee to be so prominent in these national competitions,” he told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

Read more from this writer