‘American Song Contest’ Debuts!

Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg host the American Song Contest. (Photo & graphic property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

In 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest made its debut! Eurovision features some of the best performers representing their home countries for glory. Sixty-six years later, performers and musicians from all 50 states and United States territories will compete in the American Song Contest. Hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg, the American Song Contest will feature familiar faces, and up-and-coming artists duke it out for the title of “Best Original Song.”

Tonight, 11 performers faced the first round of qualifiers! Who impressed the viewers? Who is one step closer to winning the American Song Contest? Read on to find out!

(Author’s Note – Because it was live music competition, letter grades will be applied!)

After hosts Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson made their grand entrance, it was time to get down to business. Minnesota’s Yam Haus kicked off the competition. Lars Pruitt, Seth Blum, Zach Beinlich, and Jake Felstow make up the band. Their original song is called “Ready to Go.” The song reminds me so much of OneRepublic and American Authors’ music. While I thought the dancers were a distraction, I enjoyed the song. B+ 

Oklahoma superstar AleXa was the second performer to take the American Song Contest stage. AleXa revealed that she loved Carrie Underwood and introduced her friends to K-pop. She also is an international K-pop superstar as her music videos received 20 million views. Her original song is titled: “Wonderland.” While I was not a massive fan of the backing music overpowering her voice, AleXa does have the potential to be one of the next breakout music stars. A- 

Arkansas native Kelsey Lamb represented her hometown of Little Rock. She described her sound as a mix between Blake Shelton and Avril Lavigne. The newlywed performed her song: “Never Like This.” In all honesty, I was not a fan of the music or her vocals. I wished I had a certain show’s buzzer to voice my disproval. D+ 

After Kelly Clarkson played a game with Yam Haus, Indiana rappers UG Skywalkin and Maxie brought hip-hop to the American Song Contest stage. UG stood for his home country of Uganda and revealed that he was a “missionary kid.” He dedicated his performance of his song: “Love in My City” to his late father. The show provided them with too much autotune that I could not hear his beats at the performance’s beginning. Once again, the dancers distracted me. Despite not hearing UG clearly, I thought that the only saving grace was featured artist Maxie. 

Christian Pagán represented Puerto Rico for the American Song Contest. He performed at the Billboard Latin Music Awards and hit number one on the Puerto Rico radio charts. His song, “Loko,” featured both English and Spanish lyrics. I truly enjoyed the song from start to finish, and I hope that he experiences the same success that Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, and Daddy Yankee had with US audiences. A- 

Music legend Michael Bolton represented Connecticut tonight. The Grammy-winning icon performed his original song: “Beautiful World.” I got the first case of the chills as Mr. Bolton sang. This was one of the best performances of the night! A+

It is challenging for someone to follow Michael Bolton. However, Iowa’s Alisabeth Von Presley had the monstrous task of doing it. She took the American Song Contest to perform her original song: “Wonder.” The coffee shop owner delivered a fiery track perfect for Women’s History Month. While she lost her place in moments during the performance, the chorus saved the performance. B- 

Wisconsin native Jake’O premiered his original song: “Feel Your Love.” He revealed that he worked at his family’s cheese plant. He described his sound as “Nuvo Retro.” In all honesty, my jaw dropped with excitement when I heard “Feel Your Love.” In all honesty, Michael Bolton and Connecticut might have some competition. “Feel Your Love” was outstanding! 

Mississippi native Keyone Starr has been in the music business since 2014. She revealed that the church cultivated her sound and that Mark Ronson discovered her. Keyone told the audience in her pre-performance package that she would have been Aretha Franklin and Lenny Kravitz’s lovechild. I loved seeing her passion on stage and every minute of “Fire.” B+

Wyoming native Ryan Charles revealed that he loves to rap and describes his material as “country-western rap.” In all honesty, I was not too fond of the performance, and I would have buzzed him. D+ 

Rhode Island native Hueston closed out week one of the American Song Contest. His song, “Held On Too Long,” was dedicated to his friends failed to make it to adulthood. I was not too keen on the track, but his raw vocals were superb. B-

The jury decided that this week’s best song was “Held On Too Long.” Which was bad call by the jury!

Next week, a new group of performers take the American Song Contest stage!

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar