Has “America’s Got Talent” just found its next mega success story? During the Tuesday, June 30 episode, teen country singer Kenadi Dodds took the stage with her original song “One Way Ticket to Tennessee,” giving us fond memories of when Grace VanderWaal appeared in 2016. Kenadi easily sailed through to the next round based on the judges’ critiques (Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Eric Stonestreet), which begs the question: can she go all the way and join the “AGT” winners list? Watch the audition video above and then give us your take down in the comments section.
Grace, a shy singer-ukuleleist, earned Howie’s Golden Buzzer in Season 11 following her powerful rendition of her original tune “I Don’t Know My Name.” She’s since gone on to find great success in the entertainment industry, winning Next Big Thing at the Teen Choice Awards and releasing her album “Just the Beginning” in 2017. More recently she starred as the lead in the Disney+ musical drama film “Stargirl” (2020).
When Kenadi first stepped out on the stage, she told the judges about her family’s struggles with Retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder that results in severe vision impairment. “I’m the only one in my family right now who doesn’t have it,” she explained. “My little sister told me that she wanted to see me on the biggest stage in the world before it’s too late and her vision’s gone.” The judges began tearing up at hearing that, but Kenadi persevered when she proclaimed, “I’ve worked really hard to be here and it’s been crazy.”
After Kenadi’s performance of “One Way Ticket to Tennessee,” the judges had nothing but praises for the country crooner. Simon called her a “firecracker,” Howie noted the way she “transforms” when she sings, Sofia loved her “country look” including her boots and guitar, and Eric praised her personal “goal” of putting her mind on the prize. Backstage, Kenadi was feeling “grateful” at all of the judges’ comments. She’ll next be seen in the Judge Cuts round, scheduled to begin airing July 28 on NBC.
In his “AGT” live blog, recapper John Benutty had this to say about the performance: “By the time Kenadi Dodds took the stage the judges were primed to love an audition again. With the dream of being a country singer, and wanting to perform for her family who in entirety is losing their sight, Kenadi performed her original song ‘One Way Ticket to Tennessee.’ The song about chasing dreams earned a standing ovation from the four judges, all of whom were impressed by the songwriting and the message of it. Howie was particularly taken by the transformation of Kenadi the person speaking to them and Kenadi the performer. All in all, they each loved her very much and elected to send her on to sing again in the next round.”