Songs are a powerful way to convey emotion, but sometimes, that emotion is simply too much to bear.
During the final round of blind auditions for “The Voice Australia,” contestant Maddison McNamara found herself vying for the last spot on the show. Only judge Boy George had an opening left on his team, so Maddison knew she had to bring her A game that night.
Maddison selected the heartfelt Dolly Parton ballad, “I Will Always Love You,” made famous by songstress Whitney Houston in the ’90s. The song is so emotional, it’s always sure to tug at the heartstrings, yet Maddison brought so much depth to her performance that everyone who heard it was instantly moved.
As soon as she begins to sing, her eyes fill with tears and you can see that she’s really struggling. Later, she explained that she chose the song to honor a friend who had passed away last year.
This isn’t Maddison’s first appearance on the Australian talent show. She also appeared in 2016, where she made it to the second round of competition before being sent home by judge Jessie J. Maddison says that her friend had helped her so much during her first turn on “The Voice” that she felt the need to remember him with this particular song.
“My close friend that came with me on The Voice passed away from suicide last year,” she said. “He really pushed me a lot with my music.”
As Maddison paused and struggled to get through the first lines of the song, all of the judges could feel the anguish coming from behind their chairs.
“So much soul and pain,” Kelly Rowland says with a grimace.
“Is she crying?” asks Delta Goodrem.
Meanwhile Boy George, the only judge with a slot left to fill, simply listens quietly until Maddison makes it to the pivotal moment in the song.
As soon as Maddison hits that high, clear note, George slams his buzzer and whips his chair around.
Maddison is in!
As she continues to hit every note with simple perfection, Maddison’s pain is on full display, but so is her talent. Some of those notes seem impossibly high, but she manages to reach them all with beauty and grace.
“This song definitely means a lot to me. I had a close friend pass away last year. We used to make music together. That made me realise life is short. Any opportunity to get you have to give it all you’ve got. And that’s what I did.”
Music can be so cathartic… and so can winning! We’ll be pulling for you this season, Maddison.
Watch Maddison’s chilling performance below, and don’t forget to share.