‘American Idol’ Winner Trent Harmon Auditioned For ‘The Voice’ Two Years Ago — And No Chairs Turned

On Thursday night, Trent Harmon was crowned the fifteenth and final winner of American Idol — but it turns out it wasn’t his first attempt at reality show stardom. Harmon auditioned for The Voice in 2014, getting as far as the celebrity judge stage, but no one turned their chairs to support him. His failed audition never aired, according to Yahoo Music.

In a 2015 interview with Harmon’s hometown paper, Mississippi’s Monroe County Journal, Harmon revealed that getting on The Voice isn’t as straightforward as the pursuit of an American Idol dream. For one thing, there’s no city-by-city, cattle-call audition process that was the hallmark of Idol.

Harmon, since he was not invited to audition for The Voice, had to get through the open call audition process that weeded about 32,000 people down to 300 hopefuls. Most Voice contestants are asked directly by the show to audition, according to the singer.

“What I didn’t realize is the casting process for ‘The Voice’ is different from ‘American Idol.’ They do not just let people audition. You are asked to audition for them. They want people who have already polished their singing skills.”

Harmon endured two rounds of open call auditions in New Orleans before The Voice flew him out to Los Angeles for eight days as the group of open call contestants was shrunk down to a few hundred. He spent another three weeks in Los Angeles a few months later as the group of 150 went down to 100. He eventually made it to the blind audition stage in front of the celebrities, but no one chose him for their team.

Now, Harmon says The Voice was a learning experience, although the rejection was hard to take. Speaking to Yahoo Music after his Idol win, Harmon said it was an opportunity to pick himself up and move on since he really wanted to make it in music.

“It was really a reality check, if you will. I thought at that point in my life I was good enough. I thought, ‘I can hang.’ And I wasn’t. I wasn’t good enough, and they knew it. I think looking back, I knew it… So I took a little break from music – and when I say a break, I mean like a week – and I sat back and thought about my whole life. And I thought, ‘You know what? Michael Jordan even got cut one time. So let’s go get better.”

Ironically, Harmon told the Monroe County Journal that he only decided to audition for The Voice at his friend’s urging. Prior to that, he’d performed in musicals and as a worship service leader while a student at University of Arkansas-Monticello.

Trent Harmon didn’t just push his way through the rigorous Voice process — he had to battle some setbacks during American Idol as well. Billboard reported that Harmon had a serious bout of mono during Hollywood week. He decided to keep going and performed by himself during a group round.

As the American Idol winner, Harmon is set to work with Big Machine Records and its president Scott Borchetta, who has apparently encouraged him to steer towards country music on the theory it will boost the crooner’s career. Borchetta called their new project a “Justin Timberlake country” release, which Harmon is eager to pursue.

Since Harmon successfully covered non-country artists like Sia, Sam Smith and One Republic during his Voice and American Idol career, he is likely to bring a different spin to the traditional genre.

[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]

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