‘The Voice’s’ Dexter Roberts Stirs Up Controversy With His ‘American Idol’ Past

Dexter Roberts appears on The Voice stage.
Tyler Golden / NBC

Last week on The Voice, coach Blake Shelton won artist Dexter Roberts in a stunning four-chair turn. The country singer wowed coaches and audiences alike with his show-stopping performance of “Like A Cowboy.” During his Blind Audition, though, eagle-eyed fans began to notice that Roberts looked a bit familiar. As it turns out, the singer already knows his way around a singing competition–Roberts competed on Season 13 of American Idol in 2014.

Before Roberts took the stage on the March 4 episode of the NBC talent show, the showrunners aired footage of the Alabama native explaining a “big setback” that put his singing career on hold for some time, according to Country Living.

“I was hunting with some friends in Kentucky and I got real sick. Bad headaches, couldn’t eat nothing, couldn’t drink much,” Dexter explained, adding that doctors across the country couldn’t put a finger on his illness. “I just didn’t feel like playing any music. That was something that I loved to do and I didn’t even have the energy to do it.”

After several months of chest pain, shortness of breath, and migraines, Roberts was finally diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever and began treatment.

Roberts said his singing career was going “really well” before his illness. What he did not reveal is that, at the time, the country star was thriving on American Idol. He went very far in the series and made it to seventh place before his elimination. Roberts was invited back for the American Idol tour in 2014, but he was forced to leave due to his illness, Hollywood Life reported.

THE VOICE -- Season: 16 -- Contestant Gallery -- Pictured: Dexter Roberts
  Chris Haston / NBC

While some fans of The Voice think that this is the perfect second chance for Roberts, others think the singer has an unfair advantage.

“Anyone else remember Dexter Roberts from American Idol? Dude was good. Glad he’s back on The Voice now,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Ummm this guy was already in the Top 7 of American Idol a few years ago. We don’t need another Sundance,” another said.

For his American Idol audition, Roberts sang “(I Like To) Drive” by Casey James. Video footage posted on Daily Motion shows the then-22-year-old singer impressing judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr. with the first few strums of his guitar.

Urban and Connick Jr. smiled contently as they focused on listening, while Lopez gently swayed her head with the beat of the music. Following Roberts’ audition, Lopez said Roberts was “very impressive,” while Connick Jr. noted that Roberts seems like he sings “to get through the day.”

When he left the audition room, host Ryan Seacrest asked Roberts why he thought he was chosen to move forward.

“I worked hard, I paid my dues, and I think this is my shot,” Roberts said.