The Voice has a long history of LGBTQ inclusivity, even winning a GLAAD Media Award in 2012. Openly gay singers regularly compete on The Voice, and on last season’s finale, a Christian drag queen, Chris “Nedra Belle” Weaver, stole the show. But Monday, we had a Voice USA first: the series’ first transgender contestant, Angel Bonilla.
(International trivia alert: Jordan Gray was the first trans contestant to compete on The Voice U.K., back in 2016; in 2014, trans man Tom Atias competed on The Voice Israel, but he didn’t come out until after his audition.)
“As early as 5 years old, I already knew that I am a girl trapped in a boy’s body,” Bonilla, who was born Carlos in the Philippines, told host Carson Daly. “Growing up in a very conservative family, it was very difficult for my father. When my dad saw me as a girl for the first time, he was puzzled. He’s not sure if I am his son, but he embraced me. I promised him that I will do great things. I wanted my father to be proud of me, and I’m doing this to honor him.”
As Papa Bonilla cheered on Angel’s performance of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down,” it was a special TV moment that could earn the Voice another GLAAD accolade. Maybe another Emmy. But will Angel, who joined Team Adam, win The Voice? That I do not know… BECAUSE HER PERFORMANCE WAS MONTAGED. What the heck?
Well, Angel is no stranger to singing competitions — she made it to Boot Camp on The X Factor Season 1 with a cover of “Killing Me Softly,” and was second runner-up in Bulgaria’s Discovery International Pop Song Festival — so hopefully we’ll hear more of her during the Battles. Check out some found footage of her killing it not-so-softly in an impressive cabaret performance below, then I’ll review Monday’s other successful auditioners.