One contestant who made history as the runner-up of the previous year’s open to her picked judges, and a few country singers, including some old-school sounds, filled this impactful talent-filled week. American Idol Season 21 returned with a full episode after a short post-Oscars show last week.
Mariah, a 21-year-old from Conway, South Carolina, entered the room wearing a colorful set of overalls. She explained that she grew up in Baltimore and moved to the small town of Conway when she was 8 years old. She described her relationship with her stepdad as loving and close, saying that he did everything to help her when she needed it, including moving closer to Nashville to be closer to family.
On her 6th birthday, Mariah shares a photo of her and her older sister, wearing a necklace containing a photo of him. They often reminisce about the times they had with him, and Mariah’s mom explains that after he passed away, she turned to alcohol. Mariah noted her 10-month anniversary of sobriety on her socials in December. “That was my best friend in the whole world,” she said, explaining that her stepdad tragically passed away from a heart attack on Easter of 2019.
Katy asks for another song
Katy expresses, “In there, there exists a lion that requires liberation.” Katy Perry’s vocal style lacks the necessary liveliness to match her slightly husky voice, as she performs the song “Whenever You Come Around” originally by Vince Gill. Although I do wish we could have experienced a greater portion of this particular song, I somewhat concur.
Studio, Katy suggests that Mariah’s voice is a raw bit vocally, but there is something beautiful and natural in her sound. Her tone is soulful with a slight twang, and her style is refreshing. She flows emotion and throws it out here and there, running through some moments of bluesy country. When she adlibs, true magic comes out, and she does it more as she wants. Mariah doesn’t hit every note with full control, but there is something perfect in her voice for the song “Me Love You Can’t Make I.”
Following the concert at HunterGirl and Thompson Noah, the night presents an opportunity for the judges to give her a chance to open the last season for the runner and winner. Mariah soars through Hollywood with an extra bonus. Katy, who loves her natural gospel slash cry, calls her a “star.” Lionel Richie notes her potential by calling her the “tip of the iceberg” during her audition. Luke Bryan says, “You had it all” and adds, “I had chills the whole time.” The judges absolutely love Mariah.
The judges invite Mariah to open for Noah Thompson and HunterGirl!
She could be a force in the future. Her vocals also appear more polished than her audition. She sounds more pop with a hint of country twang in this performance. Mariah, the singer who performs “Proof” by Morgan Wallen, and HunterGirl and Noah greet me. Mariah says, “I had never doubted myself completely or thought of myself as an artist before the concert.”
Prior to its airing this week, the producers successfully withheld the performance from being leaked to the media. Nevertheless, the purpose of the appearance was to generate excitement for the show. It’s possible that the judges had already revealed everything, and Mariah did not receive the coveted platinum ticket. Similar to this segment of the audition, the HunterGirl platinum ticket concert from last season seemed somewhat scripted.
It was a very strong talent of the night. Serenity Nailyah and Kablan Ophrah, who brought an old-school soul and jazz to the stage, deserve honorable mentions. Warren Peay’s audition sounded a lot like Chris Stapleton and she showed loads of potential with her technique, receiving high praise from Katy. Tonight, Mariah had a few other ringers, but Anne Paige stood out.