Josh Richards was just 15 when he auditioned for ‘The Voice Australia’ in 2018, with a powerful rendition of a song that has become a soul standard over the years. That song was “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson Five. It was originally released in 1970. It featured the voice of a young Michael Jackson, as well as his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon. The song reached number one on the charts, their fourth consecutive song to do so.
That a teenager from Australia knows the song, and that the judges of a singing show know it and consume pleasure in hearing it, shows how widespread this influence has been.
And while it would be impossible to replicate the sound of the 1970 Jackson Five, Richards put his own stamp on it and the results are glorious. Just by seeing the performance, you can see the emotion on Richards’ face. He really wants to reassure the object of his love that he will always be there for them. Boy George was the first judge to put the principal on the buzzer, thrilled to be able to work with such talent.
It wasn’t until seconds later that the other three judges did like Boy George, slamming their buzzers to take a look at the young singer. The range of Richards’ voice was a big part of his attraction. He had a great range of notes he could hit for someone so young. He became a serious competitor on the show, unfazed by the fact that the other contestants were much older.