On Monday night’s blind auditions episode, a 25-year-old transgender woman took the Voice stage and wowed the four coaches. Angel Bonilla sang an emotional rendition of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down,” which made Adam Levine turn around.
The four coaches were shocked when Angel introduced herself as a transgender woman who was born as Carlos Bonilla in the Philippines. According to Angel, her conservative culture made it hard for her father to accept her sexuality when she first came out as a transgender.
“As early as 5 years old, I already knew that I am a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Growing up in a very conservative family, it was very difficult for my father,” Angel tearfully said in her interview.
“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.”
Thankfully, Angel’s story has a happy ending. Angel’s family, including her dad, was there to cheer her on for the Voice auditions, and the aspiring singer is now part of Team Adam.
The Voice has always been inclusive of the LGBTQ community and has even won a Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award in 2012. While several gay singers have competed on the show before, this is the first time for the long-running TV contest to feature a transgender contestant.
On her Instagram account, Angel describes herself as a “singer by heart and soul.” She often posts photos and clips of her gigs and events where she campaigns for the LGBTQ community. According to Yahoo! Entertainment, Angel is a veteran when it comes to singing competitions. She was also a contestant on The X Factor Season 1 back in 2011, making it all the way to Boot Camp. In 2016, she represented the Philippines at the Discovery International Pop Song Festival held in Bulgaria, where she placed second runner-up.
Meanwhile, Monday’s blind auditions also featured other amazing contestants. Adam Levine got two other artists on his team: 24-year-old Mia Boostrom, who sang a ballad rendition of “Pillowtalk,” and 34-year-old Reid Umstattd, who sang Elton John’s “Take Me to the Pilot.”
There was also a four-chair-turn moment when 26-year-old Johnny Bliss, who sang Preciosa, a Marc Anthony classic, got all coaches excited. But Adam Levine used his only Block button to prevent Kelly Clarkson from fighting for the half-Dominican, half-Puerto Rican contestant. In the end, Johnny chose to skip Team Adam and went with Alicia Keys.
The Voice Season 14 airs every Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC. Watch Angel Bonilla’s emotional audition below!