After Holmes' performance, her coach Jennifer Hudson said, "I know mama Whitney is proud up there"

By Brianne Tracy
November 27, 2018 11:45 AM
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In 1985, Whitney Houston first sang that she believes “the children are our future” – and now The Voice’s Kennedy Holmes is proving her right.

The 13-year-old singer closed out Monday night’s Live Playoffs show with a powerful rendition of Houston’s classic ballad “Greatest Love of All,” and she said she couldn’t have been more excited to pay homage to the late music legend with the fan-selected song choice.

“I’ve been listening to her forever,” Holmes told reporters after her performance. “‘Greatest Love of All’ is one of the songs that I’ve been singing since I was young. It was my go-to song when someone would be like, ‘Hey Kennedy, sing something.’ It’d be the first song I’d sing. I love it because it’s one of those songs that I can connect to and just be in the moment. It’s Whitney Houston. I get to honor her through the song so it’s amazing.”

Kennedy Holmes performs Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” on The Voice
Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Though Holmes was only a few years old when Houston died in 2012, she said her parents taught her about Houston’s legacy growing up.

“Yes, it’s a new generation or whatever, but my dad still listens to old school music and so does my mom,” she said. “I even do. Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin — I listen to a lot of old music, and I love Whitney. All the emotion she puts on stage is something you can really learn from.”

After her performance, Holmes’ coach Jennifer Hudson said, “I know mama Whitney is proud up there. We will see your name in lights in your own rights.” Hudson herself paid tribute to Houston just one day after her death in February 2012 at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.

Holmes has been impressing the coaches since the very beginning, and even earned a four-chair-turn with her cover of Adele’sTurning Tables” during the blind auditions in October.

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The Missouri native ultimately chose Hudson to be her coach because she said that she sang Hudson’s version of “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls for one of her first performances and that she’s a huge fan. Now, though, Holmes has fans of her own.

“My watch party was out in St. Louis, and I was so happy that school friends and family came,” she said. “I was really just thankful for all of the love and support. Even people who couldn’t make it [were] posting on their [Instagram Stories] like, ‘Kennedy killed it.’ I’m just really thankful.”

Kennedy Holmes
Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Recently, she said, she has been recognized everywhere from the mall to Olive Garden.

“I was just at the mall and there was this couple and they were like, ‘Kennedy!'” she said. “At first I thought it was Kirk [Jay], but then I turned around and they were like, ‘We love you so much, you’re amazing!’ And there was another couple back at Olive Garden. It’s so fun to get to meet people and be there in that moment.”

Season 15 of The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.