Lilli Passero on 'The Voice': I had a gut feeling my time was up, landing in the bottom was overwhelming
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/12/2017
Lilli Passero was eliminated from The Voice when the twelfth season's Top 8 artists were determined during Tuesday night's live results broadcast on NBC.
Lilli from Los Angeles, CA, and the night's other eliminee, Mark Isaiah from Mount Pocono, PA, landed in the bottom three with Vanessa Ferguson from Greensboro, NC, based on home viewer votes cast following Monday night's Top 10 performance show. It marked Lilli and Vanessa's first time in the bottom two or three since live shows began, while Mark had been in this position several times before already.
After Lilli, Mark and Vanessa each sang a survival song on Tuesday night, May 9, America tweeted via the show's "Instant Save" format to keep Vanessa in the competition. Both Lilli and Mark were therefore ousted from Adam Levine's team, but Vanessa continues to move forward on The Voice as a member of Alicia Keys' team.
On Wednesday, Lilli talked to Reality TV World about her time on The Voice. Below is what she had to say.
Reality TV World: When you learned that you were in the bottom three with Mark and Vanessa, I'm wondering what was going through your mind, like what did you think your chances were of staying and how did that mindset change after hearing all three of the performances?
Lilli Passero: It's funny because you never know what's going to happen, but I did sort of have -- I had this little gut feeling that it was getting near to my time to go home.
So when I wound up in the bottom three, it was a bit of an overwhelming experience because you're sort of preparing yourself to leave before you know the results. So, I think I was preemptively kind of feeling everything when maybe it wasn't time yet. And seeing the performances didn't change anything for me. I still was pretty sure I was going home.
Reality TV World: You were very sick a couple of weeks ago. Could you talk about what you went through and how it affected your journey and your performances on The Voice? Adam revealed in the results show that you hadn't really "broken through" in the competition yet, so I'm wondering why that was and whether your illness played a role in that.
Lilli Passero: I don't want to say that my illness played a role in it. I think that my illness just affected that one week, because we didn't have time to land on the perfect song and the perfect performance.
And then after that, I think because I can be flexible and versatile in some ways, and also because I think I was one of the least fully flushed out artists before I came to the show, I didn't already have a clear lane to share with my coach.
It was more about discovering that lane, so it was really -- our time together was kind of more about learning about each other and trying things rather than sticking to what we already knew I should be doing.
And also, a lot of the music I love is not necessarily music that would be conducive to the audience on the show. So, I'm amazed that I got as far as I did with kind of just trying to figure it out as I went. But I think that the sickness had little to do with it, just that one week.
Reality TV World: Do you think you did finally discover your lane by the end of your time on The Voice?
Lilli Passero: Well, it's funny because I grew up with, you know, with standards, the Great American Song Book and I sang "Unforgettable" as a little girl and "Town Without Pity." You know, the vibe that I never sung before was incredibly familiar in terms of the music that I grew up on but I don't think that my lane necessarily is the music I grew up on.
I think that the music I grew up on is one of my influences and I'm influenced by so many different kinds of music. So, it was more about the lane that I left in was more about illuminating some of my influences rather than the lane that -- I'm not about to put out a jazz album, but you will always hear it in my singing and in my music.
Reality TV World: I'd like to talk to you a little bit about your "Instant Save" song. Looking back, do you think "Stormy Weather" by Etta James was the right song to do in terms of showing your strengths and full potential? Maybe you wish you had done something different?
Lilli Passero: Yes, that's interesting. I mean, maybe a bigger, flashier song would have done the job. I think that Alicia's pitch for Vanessa was really, like, remarkable. I almost started crying listening to her fight for her.
I think there's so many factors that go into it and, you know, from the beginning I never thought I would get this far. And I even said like, "God, how amazing would it be to get to the Top 12?"
And then I got to the Top 10, so maybe it was something I manifested that it was just my time to go home, I don't really know. I think it's hard. I understand the desire to want to find the answer, find the solution or pinpoint the exact moment or all of that, but I don't know if that's necessarily something you can do.
Reality TV World: What was it like working with Adam in general? Did you two always agree on song choices, style and performance techniques? Did it take you time to get on the same page?
Lilli Passero: [Rehearsals] were interesting. I mean, first of all, they were always fun. He's like such a fun guy to hang out with and he's so smart and he knows so much about music and he's very passionate. He really knows what he wants, and I think he knew what he wanted more than I knew what I wanted.
And so it was, you know, we would like get head-to-head on things, and at the end of the day I would -- if I feel a million percent about something, like I'm going to stick up for it. But if I'm kind of unsure, then I'm more likely to allow someone who knows more than me to have the final word.
So he was picking my songs at the end and he really inspired me to be more confident in them, because with "Unforgettable," I was really nervous to sing it, especially because the Nat King Cole version is held so near to so many people, and also because of the nature of the song. I thought, "Well at this point in the competition, do I need to do something bigger or is this the right choice for me?"
And he really encouraged me to stop worrying about the competition and to just focus on me and doing something that looked really good on me, and I really admire that about him, that even though he's working for the show, he is not married to the outcome of the show, he's married to the outcome of who we are as artists and people.
Check back with Reality TV World soon for more from Lilli's post-The Voice interview.