If Billy Gilman had past success in the music industry, why is he allowed to compete on NBC's The Voice?
That was the question on a lot of people's minds while watching Gilman, famous as a child for his song, "One Voice", now as a contestant on The Voice. Some Voice viewers have raised concerns about musicians who had even some modicum of success before auditioning competing against true amateurs in the past (season 8 runner-up Meghan Linsey, season 3 winner Cassadee Pope and the late season 6 finalist Christina Grimmie).
But Gilman noted in a new interview with Rolling Stone that he is still legally allowed to compete on the show, even if he had a record deal in his past.
"Legally, if you don't have a record label, everyone is from the same pool," he told the magazine. "It was 16, almost 17 years ago that [my single] 'One Voice' came out. Quite frankly, to knock myself a little bit, do you hear me on the radio or see my videos on the mainstream pipeline? The answer is no. It's out of my head. It has to be. If you listen to everything [the public says], half the artists in the entire world would be dead. You can't look to someone else for an answer. It has to come from within you. There's always a negative side to everything so if people have an attitude like that, well, the [coaches'] chairs didn't necessarily have to turn, either."
It's no secret that Gilman has been one of the standout performers on The Voice this season, belting out huge pop songs with near-perfect pitch. He has now made it all the way to the Top 12 and he will be performing live for America's votes. Those who remember Gilman from his past and still like him today could give him an advantage over other contestants without such followings, but it's important to remember that it doesn't automatically guarantee a win. After all, Linsey, Grimmie and many others, like season 4's Judith Hill, lost to artists with less notoriety before the season.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.