The second round of qualifiers on “American Song Contest” featured knockout performances filled with Ohio heart, New York swag and Kentucky soul.
Eleven more singers flexed their vocal prowess, in hopes of earning the title of best hit song, including Oregon band courtship., who went from making songs in lead singer Micah’s bedroom to opening for Weezer in Portland, Oregon, and amassing 100 million streams on Spotify.
The alternative hip-hop duo kicked off Monday’s show with a colorful performance of their infectious single “Million (Dollar) Smoothies,” which lovingly pokes fun at Portland’s reasonably-priced fruit drinks.
“That was catchy,” host Kelly Clarkson said. “I want a smoothie right now.”
Check out more highlights from tonight’s “American Song Contest.”
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Macy Gray wants to ‘lift people up’ with feel-good anthem
Platinum-selling R&B star Macy Gray invoked the “big-hearted” charm of Ohio for her “Song Contest” performance of the feel-good anthem “Every Night.”
Gray grew up in the “proper Midwest” of the Buckeye State with her large extended family, who was surprised to discover Gray’s musical talent, given her shyness growing up. Gray said music became an outlet of self-expression for her.
“I’m very aware that my voice is strange,” Gray said in a prerecorded interview. “But if you’re not comfortable speaking, you’ll find different ways to express yourself.”
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Despite the mainstream success Gray found over the years, including five Grammy nominations, she said representing Ohio on the show is a “gift,” as well as an opportunity for personal growth.
“You always want to do something where you come away better,” Gray said. “I just wanna lift people up, put a smile on people’s faces, dancing like they can’t even help it.”
Enisa greenlights her high-energy ‘Song Contest’ debut
Enisa brought the bold charisma of the Big Apple to the “Song Contest” stage Monday, delivering a high-energy performance of her warm electro-R&B song “Green Light.”
A first-generation Albanian, whose parents came to New York City to give her and her brother “a better opportunity at life,” Enisa said the diversity of her home state has influenced the eclectic style of her music.
“You can hear the Spanish drums, that Albanian-Arabic ethnic vibe, like a big melting pot of sound,” Enisa said in a prerecorded interview. “The song has attitude, and that’s what New York City is: We’re loud, we’re fun, we’re hustlers.”
Enisa said the sense of opportunity felt in New York, especially in Times Square, inspired the lyrical theme of “Green Light.”
“You go there, and it really inspires you to make things happen,” Enisa said. “No matter where in the world you come from, in New York you have the green light to make your dreams come true.”
‘The Voice’ alum Jordan Smith soars with soulful vocals
kentucky singer jordan smith brought the night to a soaring crescendo with a soulful performance of his song “Sparrow.”
“Sparrow, up and fly away; there’s a brighter day. We don’t have to stay here anymore,” Smith sang. “You might be bending, but you’re not breaking; you are a miracle in the making.”
Smith has already made a splash in the music industry, winning Season 9 of “The Voice” in 2015 and writing a song for pop icon Celine Dion, who won “Song Contest’s” European counterpart “Eurovision” in 1988. “Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to follow in her footsteps on ‘American Song Contest,’ ” he said in a prerecorded interview.
Smith said the heartfelt spirit of “Sparrow” reflects the cultural importance of faith in the Bluegrass State.
“For many Kentuckians, faith is an integral part of who we are,” Smith said. “If you’ve ever felt like you’re waiting on the ground for your moment to shine, this song is for you.”
Who advanced to semi-finals on ‘American Song Contest’?
Smith earned the national jury’s distinction of top song, advancing him to the show’s semifinals. rhode island singer Hueston won top song last week with his original song “Held On Too Long.”
Smith wasn’t the only singer to advance to the semifinals Monday night.
Although contestants AleXa (Oklahoma), Kelsey Lamb (Arkansas) and Christian Pagán (Puerto Rico) made up the jury’s top 4 at the top of the show, fans’ votes sent AleXa, Pagán and Michael Bolton (Connecticut) to the semifinals instead. Clarkson said two singers will be brought back later in the competition based on the streaming numbers of the contestants’ songs.
“American Song Contest” airs Mondays on NBC at 8 EDT/PDT.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism