Myra Tran made quite an impression on the first audition episode of 17th season of “American Idol.” The 19-year-old petite Vietnamese powerhouse carried herself with a poise beyond her years and exuded a diva-is-born presence. She might have gone overboard with her vocal run at the end of “One Night Only” from “Dreamgirls” — a tie to ‘Idol’ alum and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.
But judge Luke Bryan was on to something when he said after hearing her rendition, “You’re up there with the Kelly Clarksons of the world.”
Lionel Richie was equally observant when he noted, “There’s nothing to compare you to .. you have stepped into a zone that’s yours.”She dressed like a star in black pant suit with a spangled collar, glittery pant seams and sparkly black bra. She even wore heels and a high ponytail.
That zone, it turns out, is more like a winner’s circle.
Tran — whose real name is Tran Minh Nhu — already has TV singing competition experience after she took first place on Season 2 of “The X Factor Vietnam” at age 16. She taught herself to sing by listening to her favorite songs on repeat, including those by Whitney Houston.
She moved to Seattle in October 2017 to follow her dream after becoming a household name in her homeland. Her final triumphant “X Factor” performance was a polished mash-up of Ariana Grande‘s hits “Focus” and ” Problem.” (see video below).
She told This Week in Asia that moving to the U.S. has helped her see her way to making singing her career. “I think school has helped my singing career a lot,” said Myra, who sings in a choir. “Going to school alllows me to practice English, which has boosted my confidence so I can sing more English songs and express more emotions.”
The views of Myra’s audition video on the “American Idol” YouTube site is closing in on 3 million. Her lone competition at this point — with a 100,000 or so more views — is Alejandro Aranda, 24, from Pomona, California, from night 2 of the auditions. He’s also her polar opposite, a shy home-schooled kid turned dishwasher (at least according to “Idol”) who began playing music in the streets four years ago. He is self taught, plays piano and guitar and writes his own songs.
Turns out he has won a music contest as well, one that was conducted by California State University at Northridge in 2017. He was overwhelmingly voted Artist of the Year at the annual showcase. He uses the stage name ScaryPoolParty and is a regular fixture on the California music scene. If these two make the cut, it will be quite a showdown.