Tilghman advances to the finals on 'The Voice'

NBC photo 

Meridian pastor Todd Tilghman brought home the coveted title of “Champion” in season 18 of The Voice Tuesday night.

Meridian, Mississippi pastor Todd Tilghman brought home the coveted title of “Champion” in season 18 of The Voice Tuesday night.

Tilghman and his family gathered at Cornerstone Church in Meridian, while fans attended a watch party at the historic Temple Theatre in downtown Meridian anxiously awaiting the results.

"I just want to say thank you," Tilghman said in a statement Wednesday to The Meridian Star. "I can't express how grateful I am to everyone for how they've been to me in this process. I haven't felt for a moment that I deserve any of this, and I still don't. But I sure am appreciative.

"I love this city, and I love these people, and I'm so glad we could come together ... I imagine a hatchet or two was probably even buried ... and that is worth everything to me."

Fans heard another stellar performance from the singer in a duet with his coach Blake Shelton, singing John Mellencamp's  “Authority Song.” 

When Carson Daly announced Tilghman as the winner a lot of “Holy Hopping” was going on, along with shouts and tears of joy.

In a Twitter post Wednesday morning, Tilghman wrote: "I wish I knew how to say thank you. And I wish y'all knew how much I respect and admire my new friends and fellow artists/contestants on @NBCTheVoice. I don't know how long it'll take me to process but I sure am #grateful for every moment. @blakeshelton @TheVoice.

"ALSO, I'm enjoying this moment, so I might not be super active on Twitter for a day or two. #serenity"

Coming in fifth place was Micah Iverson, fourth place was CamWess, and first and second runners-up were Toneisha Harris and Thunderstorm Artis.

In Monday night's final performances from the Top 5 Tilghman took fans back to his roots singing a rendition of “I Can Only Imagine” by the Christian rock band MercyMe.

For his original song Tilghman, performed “Long Way Home.”

By Tuesday morning, his song ranked No. 1 on the iTunes Top 100 songs chart. It was holding at No. 2 Wednesday morning, while his "Authority Song" duet with Shelton was at No. 9.

Tilghman received $100,000 and a recording contract for winning "The Voice." Shelton has now coached seven singers to the title and will continue to help Tilghman.

Cheryl Owens is a reporter with The Meridian Star in Meridian, Miss. Email cowens@themeridianstar.com

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