'The Voice' contestant credits Millikin University for breakthrough

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — When you have a voice as big as Audri Bartholomew's, there's not much you can do without being noticed.

She would be a sophomore at Millikin University this fall — if she weren't sharing her voice with millions of people on NBC.

"Walking up I was like 'this is going to be so fun,'" Bartholomew said. "It's no big deal. Act like you're practicing in your mirror."

Her performance caught the attention of Jennifer Hudson, now her coach on The Voice. It's the breakthrough Bartholomew has been craving after years of just missing the cut. The difference this time around: the lessons of her professors at Millikin.

"It was really hard for me [to come up short in the past] so I took a break from [auditioning] and really studied my craft to improve myself as an artist," she said. "That's what really made the difference this time around."

Even if shes not *the* voice this season, Bartholomew is intent on finding hers.

"It's not just about the vocals," she said. "It's about how you can connect."

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