Sisqo, Tenelle Headline ‘American Song Contest’ Week 5

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

By: Jacob Elyachar,

It was the final week of the first American Song Contest! Tonight, performers from the last set of states and US territories performed for the chance to represent them during the live semifinals.

Which performer joined Kentucky (Jordan Smith), Rhode Island (Hueston), Tennessee (Tyler Braden), and Washington (Allen Stone) in the jury qualifier club? Plus, which of last week’s remaining acts are sailing into the semifinals courtesy of America? Read on to find out!

After Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg walked onto the stage, it was time to get down to business. They revealed Massachusetts (Jared Lee), Georgia (Stela Cole), and MARi would move onto the American Song Contest semifinals. Chicago, Illinois native Justin Jesso has written for the Backstreet Boys and several K-pop bands. Tonight, he sang “Lifeline,” and I fell in love with this song from the first note. I loved its lyrics and Justin’s energy! A- 

Sweet Taboo represented Snoop Dogg’s home state of California. They represented Latin music, and their music has been viewed over 12 million times online. Their song, “Keys to the Kingdom,” reminded me of a combination of Rosalia and Camila. I could see this song conquering the radio and streaming playlists. B+

Idaho’s Andrew Sheppard was the next performer to take the American Song Contest stage. The fly fisherman described his style as rock-and-roll with a bit of folk music. His original tune, “Steady Machine,” bored me and I would have pressed a buzzer during his performance. D+ 

After Snoop Dogg checked in with his nephew, Sisqo, New Mexico’s representative Khalisol revealed that he would not go up in a hot air balloon because he is afraid of heights. The rapper has played venues across the state and wanted to be a good role model to his two sons. I hate to say this, but I did not like the song. 

Kelly revealed that Wyoming’s Ryan Charles returned to the competition as the first redemption artist of the season. Missouri’s HALIE represented the tiny hometown of Thayer. She is also the sister of country songwriter Michael Tyler and brought Martina McBride to tears on Songland. Her song, “Better Things,” was impeccable, and I hope that it has the chance to find its way to several country music playlists. B+  

The talented Tenelle was American Samoa’s representative in the American Song Contest. Her original song, “Full Circle,” breathed new life into this competition. I loved the lyrics and the production was superb. Bravo, Tenelle! A- 

North Carolina’s John Morgan was determined to showcase his small-town roots on the show. He opened for Jason Aldean and co-wrote Jason and Carrie Underwood’s massive duet: “If I Didn’t Love You.” I was impressed with “Right in the Middle.” It gave me chills, something that only a few modern-day country music songs have done. B+ 

Josh Panda represented Vermont in the American Song Contest. He toured across the state and released albums. His song, “Rollercoaster,” put a smile on my face, and I loved his showmanship. 

Jason J left his home island of Guam to attend music college in 2010. His family is highly supportive of his music, and Jason J opened up for the Marley Brothers. My jaw dropped as I listened to “Midnight.” That track was unique and woke me up from my slumber! Bravo, Jason J! 

17-year-old Ada LeAnn is the youngest singer in this competition! The Michigan native drew a lot of inspiration from Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo. I was not impressed with the song, and I did not connect with Ada either. 

Sisqo closed out the American Song Contest qualifiers with his original song: “It’s Up.” I felt like it was “The Thong Song: Part Two.” He is a great entertainer, but I did not like Sisqo’s song. D- 

Kelly and Snoop presented iHeartRadio’s Tom Poleman as one of the show’s jurors. Kelly revealed that the show’s winner’s song would be playing their song in rotation at iHeartRadio stations nationwide. As Tom left the stage, the duo revealed that Ada LeAnn became the final jury selection of the qualifying round.

Next week, the American Song Contest semifinals begin!

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar