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Does The Voice Have Age Limits for Competitors? Here's What to Know

People across a wide range of ages have succeeded on The Voice.

By Caitlin Schunn

The Voice is historically a young person’s game — but that doesn’t mean it’s ever too late to give up on your singing dreams.

How to Watch

Watch The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

New faces will start auditioning for the coaches as Season 23 of The Voice premieres, and the only age limit is that contestants must be at least 13 years old.

In fact, there have been many younger people who have been featured on the show. You might remember 13-year-old Reina Ley, who performed a traditional Mariachi song for the coaches during Season 22 auditions. She wowed Gwen Stefani and Camila Cabello, who both turned their chairs for the 13-year-old.

Meanwhile, Hailey Mia, 13, also stunned the coaches with her age during the 2021 auditions with her rendition of Tate McRae’s “You Broke Me First.” She told the coaches she’d been waiting to turn 13 so she could audition.

“13! Holy moly!” judge Kelly Clarkson said after the performance. “I literally thought I was turning around for like a 24-year-old. I was like, why are we not turning around, what’s happening? I’ve had on the show a 14-year-old before, and to be this young and have that kind of gift? Job well done.”

The coaches were also shocked in 2020 to see the person behind Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” during the blind auditions: 14-year-old Levi Watkins. Only Blake Shelton turned his chair, leaving John Legend to shout, “A baby!” during the reveal.

“I am not an actor, but that was the greatest performance I gave in my life,” Shelton said, according to Billboard. “To turn around and not react was the hardest thing I ever did.”

Clarkson admitted she was thrown, too.

“For a billion dollars, I thought you were a female that sang lower and in your 20s,” Clarkson said.

It takes a lot of guts to take on an Adele classic for the blind auditions, but that didn’t stop 13-year-old Kennedy Holmes, who belted out “Turning Tables” during Season 15 in 2018 — causing all four coaches to turn their chairs.

Holmes made it all the way to the finale, performing Demi Lovato’s “Confident” and her original song “Love Is Free.” She ultimately took home a fourth-place finish.

The average age for The Voice winners over the show’s 22 seasons is 25.8 years old. Seven seasons have crowned a winner in their 30s, while eight seasons named a champion in their 20s. Six seasons celebrated winners in their teens, including the two youngest winners of the show: Brynn Cartelli was only 15 years old when she won Season 14, and Carter Rubin was 15 when he won Season 19.

Cartelli, a high school freshman from Massachusetts, was the show’s youngest winner at the time in 2018, with her coach Clarkson calling her “a unicorn” and “an anomaly.” The Washington Post speculated her win could be a “game changer” for the show.

It was her second try at The Voice, after she participated in Season 13, going through the entire pre-show process and eventually even giving a blind audition for the coaches, but she turned no chairs. That unsuccessful first blind audition never aired, according to Yahoo News.

A week after that audition, Cartelli said producers called her back to try again.

In 2020, Rubin became the youngest male winner ever.

Rubin first started his journey on the show when he was only 14, turning 15 by the time he won the season. He earned two chair turns from Stefani and Legend during his jaw-dropping rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s “Before You Go” during auditions.

“You do not look like your voice… I cannot believe what I’m seeing and hearing right now,” Stefani said during the Blind Auditions, USA Today reported. “My son is 14 years old, so I can be a mom figure for you because I am a mom.”

RELATED: Kelly Clarkson Actually Has a Favorite Thing About Blake Shelton, and It's Sweet

Only one season has named a champion in their 40s: the oldest winner of The Voice, 41-year-old Todd Tilghman. He earned four chair turns from all the coaches for his cover of “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger, proving age is just a number.

The pastor and father to eight kids also made history as he auditioned with no professional music background and even said he had never given serious thought to a music career, reported The Washington Post.

“You’ve kind of been this well-kept secret down there in Meridian, Mississippi. Nobody knew this incredible superstar was lurking in a church down there,” Shelton told Tilghman during the show, according to the outlet.

A 57-year-old became the oldest person to audition and land on a team during Season 11. Dan Shafer performed “Marry Me” during his audition. Shafer auditioned because he "felt it was time,” according to The Tennessean.

Shafer said he’d chosen to set aside music to raise his family, and he got lots of positive reaction for finally stepping on stage.

"I think it brings a hope to a lot of individuals," Shafer told The Tennessean. "Everyone was very inspired I was on the show and not self-conscious about my age. It opened my eyes to a lot of people are looking at this as somewhat of an example of what hope is."

See who surprises next on The Voice when it premieres Monday, March 6 at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.  

Watch The Voice on Peacock and NBC

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