Bella Taylor Smith, a member of the international megachurch Hillsong, won the Australian version of “The Voice” Sunday alongside her coach, who is also a Christian.
During an interview on the Aussie morning show “Sunrise,” Smith said she is “shocked and thrilled” to have won the singing competition, adding she still “can’t believe” her victory.
A music teacher by trade, the 23-year-old singer emerged the winner after performing Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer” with coach Guy Sebastian, who described Smith as “a phenomenal talent” with “one of the purest voices I have heard.”
“I really can’t believe it,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to see what incredible things are ahead for me. I’m really grateful for you, [Sebastian], for everyone who voted and for my beautiful family, whom I love.”
In a Facebook post the night before the finale, the contestant thanked her friends, family, and church community for their support, “and honestly and most importantly to Jesus for giving me hope and a beautiful life to live.”
While there were some on social media who criticized Smith and “The Voice,” claiming the show was somehow rigged in her favor due to her ties to Hillsong, the young singer’s fans came to her defense.
“I don’t recall Hillsong being mentioned during the finals and, even if it was, so what?” wrote one supporter. “Bella wowed everyone with her voice and she gave thanks to the one who ultimately graved her with the gift. Congratulations, Bella!”
Another described Smith as “amazing,” writing she “is beautiful and deserves” to win.
“There is nothing wrong with having faith,” the person added. “Wishing her the best for the future.”
As for Smith, she said she plans to use her $100,000 prize to “pay some bills,” take a vacation once COVID lockdowns lift in Australia, and “get my life together.”
Smith added that, while she is eager to get into the studio to record an album, she has no plans to give up her job as a music teacher.
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