Jewel, Riker Lynch Headline ‘American Song Contest’

American Song Contest
Hosts Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg presented the third episode of the American Song Contest. (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

The American Song Contest is heading into its third week of competition!

Tonight, 12 more acts showcased their original tunes to the country. This group of performers included music legend Jewel, actor-singer Riker Lynch, and indie rock group Judd Hoos. Which performers joined Jordan Smith’s “Sparrow” and Hueston’s “Held On Too Long” as the Jury’s favorites? Who will need America’s votes to advance to the American Song Contest? Read on to find out!

After Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg made their entrance, it was time to get down to business. North Dakota (Chloe Fredericks), Kansas (Broderick Jones) – WOO HOO! & Montana’s Jordan Prill made it to the American Song Contest’s semifinals. 

Kelly Clarkson’s home state, Texas, kicked off the third week of competition. Grant Knoche represented his hometown of Dallas. While everyone gravitated to football, he found his love in the performing arts. He is a Kids Bop alum and loves dark pop. He sang “Mr. Independent,” and I could not connect with the song. While Grant is a solid performer, I was not a fan of the music. C- 

Brittany Pfantz represented New Orleans and Louisiana on the American Song Contest stage. Her boyfriend just proposed to her before Brittany headed to the show. Brittany’s song, “Now You Do,” had elements of “Valerie” and “Rolling in the Deep” to it. I loved her voice, and the song was fire! B+

Tyler Braden had the massive challenge to represent Tennessee, specifically Music City. He spent three years in the Brentwood Fire Department, and he got his publishing offers in 2019 and left the fire service. His original song, “Seventeen,” gave me chills. His husky vocals and the arrangement made me fall in love with this song. A- 

After Snoop Dogg caught up with the lovely Jewel at the Alaska table, Kelly welcomed New Jersey’s Brooke Alexx to the American Song Contest. She revealed that New Jersey was more than the MTV show and has developed a sizeable TikTok following. The show’s audio problem made me not like “I Don’t Take Pictures Anymore.” In addition, I was not too fond of the screeching. D+/C- 

Alabama’s Ni/Co has a superb pedigree. Colton is an alum of The Sing-Off, while Dani worked with some of music’s biggest names in Atlanta. The duo’s harmonies have gained them a social media following, and some of music’s biggest names, such as Katy Perry and Ed Sheeran, shared their interpretations. Tonight, Ni/Co represented Alabama on the American Song Contest stage. Their original song, “The Difference,” impressed me. They do have a bright future in the music industry. A- 

Once Kelly Clarkson finished checking in with Riker Lynch, Snoop introduced Florida’s Ale Zabala. The Miami transplant loved the nightlife and hip-hop and Latin music and is also a songwriter for Warner Chappell Music. Her song, “Flirt,” blended pop and Latin music together. This song bored me. D

The iconic Jewel represented her home state of Alaska! Her original song was “The Story.” I could not stop smiling when Jewel took the stage. She gave me chills, and it felt like I was attending a concert! A

Jesse LeProtti represented South Carolina in the NBC singing competition. His family worked hard for everything they had and dedicated his song, “Not Alone,” to his mom, who has multiple sclerosis. “Not Alone” reminds me of David Guetta and Usher’s “Without You.” It is a beautiful track from start to finish. A- 

South Dakota rockers Judd Hoos performed “Bad Girl,” and their sound reminded me of U2’s “Beautiful Day” era of music. I was bored with the song. I wanted to buzz them and scream: ‘NEXT!’ 

Delaware native Nitro Nitra has toured all over the world. Her song, “Train,” caught me by surprise in a good way. She rocked out the stage with her killer vocals. One of the best surprises of the night! B+ 

Northern Marianas native Sabyu hoped to bridge the 7,000 miles gap between the United States and his home on the show. His song, “Sunsets and Seaturtles,” perfectly represented his island. I liked his spirit, but his song was boring. C+ 

Riker Lynch closed out week three of the American Song Contest. He was seen at Red Rocks, and it was so cool to see him in my honorary home state as I am a CU Boulder alum. Riker and his band, the Beachcombers, dropped a sure-fire hit: “Feel the Love.” It was indeed one of the best songs of the evening. 

At the end of the evening, Tennessee’s Tyler Braden won the Jury Vote!

Because American Song Contest is a live television broadcast, letter grades were given out!

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar