If you haven’t heard of The Voice Senior, your life is about to become so much better.
The Voice Senior is a Dutch adaptation of the singing competition “The Voice.” It follows the same basic competition structure, with blind auditions and dividing judge teams. This means that participants are first judged based solely on their singing ability since the judges don’t see them until they choose to turn their chair around.
There’s one small difference, though: all the competitors are more than 60 years old.
It opens the audition field up to a whole range of competitors that might not usually get their turn in the spotlight. Among them was Jimi Bellmartin, who won the first season of The Voice Senior in 2018.
You’ve never seen judges turn so quickly.
The moment Bellmartin began to sing, they hit their buttons and swung around.
His powerful vocals ripped through the first line. His audition song was “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” the perfect choice for his voice. It was immediately clear that the judges were dealing with a singer with the potential to become a superstar.
Bellmartin was in his late 60s when he auditioned.
He went on to win the entire season. But even his first audition made it clear that he had the wherewithal needed to beat the competition.
Bellmartin, a Dutchman of Indonesian descent, is a member of the funk band The Soul Snatchers. His fellow musician put up a message of support after his big win.
“We can’t tell you how proud we are,” it said. “Soul Warrior No 1 Jimi Bellmartin won the first edition of The Voice Senior worldwide… well deserved of course. His ‘blind audition’ was a spectacular one, after hittin’ that first note all members of the jury were immediately impressed and tried to get Jimi on their team.” [sic]
Bellmartin was taken onto the team of coaches “Geer and Goor,” or Gordon and Gerard Joling.
During his final performance, he sang “To Love Somebody” and “Stand By Me”. Bellmartin was dubbed “the swing king” online after his win.
“After several weeks of ‘competition’ over 2 million people watched the finals and were given the option to vote by phone/SMS,” reads The Soul Snatchers website. “Finally, Jimi Bellmartin turned out to be the first winner of The Voice Senior.”
Online comments compare him to James Brown and laud his passion and his power.
And Bellmartin hasn’t wasted his fame. Since his 2018 win, he has released an EP album and performed live, including at the Ziggo Dome. The Ziggo is a famous indoor amphitheater in Amsterdam where some of the biggest singers and musicians in the Netherlands perform.
Bellmartin also stirred admiration from fans all over the world.
Commenters on YouTube clocked in from Croatia, Poland, South America, and more. Bellmartin may have come late in life to achieve fame, but his time in the spotlight is well-deserved — and now that we’ve heard his powerful voice, we’ll never forget it.
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