After being in development for several years, “American Song Contest” finally premiered on NBC on March 21, 2022. The reality TV show is based on the worldwide phenomenon “Eurovision Song Contest,” which has been a mega hit overseas for the past six decades. The American version of the musical competition series features live original performances from 56 acts representing all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the nation’s capital. Each act vies for the votes of the audience and jury members in the hopes of earning the title of Best Original Song. The Season 1 contestants are a mix of solo artists, duos, DJs and bands and explore all different music genres. The show is set up in three different stages: Qualifying Rounds, Semi Finals and Grand Final. Meet all 56 “American Song Contest” 2022 participants in our photo gallery below.
Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your hosts and executive producers of “American Song Contest,” Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson. Snoop is a multi-platinum artist, actor and entertainment icon with three decades of experience in the music industry under his belt. Kelly, a talk show host and the first-ever winner of “American Idol,” officially joined the NBC family in 2018 as a coach on “The Voice,” winning the competition in Seasons 14, 15, 17 and 21.
Alabama: Ni/Co — 8th Place
Original Song: “The Difference”
Hometown: Montgomery, AL
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
Ni/Co is a duo made up of Dani Brillhart and Colton Jones. They began gaining popularity in 2019 from their YouTube videos, which have accumulated more than 40 million views. The pop duo has had their music featured on various networks, including the CW, VH1, NBC, BET, TNT, Starz and Freeform. Their growing audience has granted them attention and opportunities to work with brands such as Google, Adobe, Volkswagen, Reese’s, Dell, Chips Ahoy, Fender and more. They have an insatiable passion to perform and pull inspiration from wanting to touch the lives of everyone who hears their music. Ni/Co is so excited to represent Alabama as that is where the duo discovered their love for music and one another.
Alaska: Jewel — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “The Story”
Hometown: Homer, AK
Resident: Rocky Mountains, CO
Jewel went from a girl who grew up with no running water on an Alaskan homestead, to a homeless teenager in San Diego, to an award winning, Multi-Platinum Recording Artist who released one of the best-selling debuts of all time. Through her career Jewel has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, earned 26 Music Award nominations, including The Grammys, American Music Awards, MTV Awards, VH1 Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Country Music Awards, winning 8 times. Jewel has been featured on the cover of TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone, performed on Saturday Night Live, at the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, for Pope John Paul II and The Clinton Inaugural Ball. She is one of the few singer songwriters to top the chart in every genre she wrote for- Folk, Pop, Club, Country, Standards, Children’s and Holiday music.
To escape the Second World War, her family did the hard work of pioneering in Alaska. Her grandmother left behind her dreams of being an opera singer so her kids could be raised in a free country. Her life has been the fruit of her parent’s sacrifice, and my music is the accumulated dream of generations, and she is so proud to sing not only for her grandparents but to represent the amazing lifestyle and spirit of Alaska.
American Samoa: Tenelle — 6th Place
Original Song: “Full Circle”
Hometown: Carson, CA
Resident: Carson, CA
Tenelle Luafalemana has been described by many as “a breath of fresh air.” Tenelle isn’t exactly sure when her love for singing first started, but suggests that growing up with a big family, where talent shows are more competitive than the “X-Factor” itself, may have well done it. Tenelle describes her home of Samoa as magical and as a child, recalls listening to artists such as Lauryn Hill, Fiji, Whitney Houston, Betty Wright and Aswad. Tenelle is now a Grammy Award-nominated and Billboard-charted artist. She’s honored to represent American Samoa, her family and the entirety of her people. Her music video “Shine” was shot on her grandmother’s property, where her grandmother lives, and where her ancestors are buried. She’s honored to share their story.
Arizona: Las Marias — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “De La Finikera”
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Resident: Nogales, AZ
Las Marías are 21-year-old twins Maria Isabel and Maria Teresa, both of whom can sing mariachi, corridos, norteñas, cumbias and sierreño. In 2008 the group’s parents were deported and relocated to Nogales, where they started taking music lessons and got more involved in regional Mexican music and their Mexican culture. Las Marías have collaborated with influential artists in the regional Mexican genre and are currently opening for Paquita la Del Barrio, a legend in this genre. To date they have released five albums and are currently working on their sixth. They’re proud to represent Arizona because throughout their lifetime they have had the opportunity to live and perform regional Mexican music throughout their beautiful state.
Arkansas: Kelsey Lamb — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Never Like This”
Hometown: Little Rock, AR
Resident: Nashville, TN
Kelsey Lamb is a country music singer/songwriter born known for her strong but pure vocals. She grew up listening to a broad mix of artists – from Avril Lavigne to Blake Shelton to the Fray to Jo Dee Messina – that have heavily influenced her songwriting. Lamb has accumulated over 2 million streams since releasing her first song, “Little By Little” in 2018 and since then has been continuing to write, record and perform her original music across the Southeast. Even though Lamb is currently living in Nashville, she’s still very connected to Arkansas.
California: Sweet Taboo — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Keys to the Kingdom”
Hometown: Jen (Burbank, CA), Sami (Whittier, CA), ICP Bre (San Bernardino, CA)
Resident: Jen (Tarzana, CA), Sami (Whittier, CA), ICP Bre (Victorville, CA)
Sweet Taboo is a Los Angeles-based Latina group consisting of Jen, Sami and rapper ICP Bre. Their sound is described as a mix of R&B, hip-hop and pop with a Latin flare. Their songs have a little bit of English and a little bit of Spanish, and a whole lot of boss bitch. Sweet Taboo’s song covers have gone viral, garnering millions of views on TikTok and have been reposted by DJ Khaled, Kehlani, Russ, and Bia. All born and raised in California, they are proud to represent their state.
Colorado: Riker Lynch — 2nd Place
Original Song: “Feel the Love”
Hometown: Littleton, CO
Resident: Denver, CO
Riker Lynch, who was born and raised in Colorado, knows a thing or two about being a multi-faceted entertainer. He’s played for a decade in the pop band R5, toured with alt-rock duo the Driver Era and has his own trop-rock artist project, Riker and the Beachcombers. Riker opts to color outside of the lines by blurring genres from rock to reggae to pop, ensuring that everything he touches is as unique as himself. Since touring across the globe and releasing a plethora of albums and songs, he’s garnered praise from the likes of Billboard and NME and accumulated a feverish fanbase. After getting a taste of acting upon joining the cast of “Glee” for three seasons (seasons 2-4), and accumulating over a dozen of credits, Riker has completely immersed himself in every aspect of filmmaking. As a writer, director and producer, he solely created two short films — the comedy “Lyft Me Up” and the sci-fi comedy “Aliens on Halloween.” Riker is so excited to represent the good vibes that Colorado brings to the world with its beautiful nature combined with a great city.
Connecticut: Michael Bolton — 7th Place
Original Song: “Beautiful World”
Hometown: New Haven, CT
Resident: Westport, CT
Michael Bolton is a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter who has sold more than 65 million records globally and continues to tour the world. Bolton is strongly committed to humanitarian causes, especially through the Michael Bolton Charities. In recognition of his artistic achievements, Michael won two Grammys for Best Pop Male Vocal Performance (nominated four times), six American Music Awards, three Emmy Award nominations and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As a songwriter, he has earned more than 24 BMI & ASCAP Awards, including Songwriter of the Year and the Hitmakers Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His coming-of-age story starts in Connecticut, where he was born and raised and most importantly where he discovered his love of singing and songwriting. He’s proud to represent the state as an artist and as someone who still loves going home to Connecticut.
Delaware: Nitro Nitra — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Train”
Hometown: Wilmington, DE
Resident: Middletown, DE
Nitro Nitra is a soul-rock singer and has been singing since before she could walk. After moving away, Nitra experienced a spiritual awakening in 2018 that led her to come back to her roots in Delaware. She first performed as Nitro Nitra in 2021 and since then has released an EP, visual album and two singles. Nitra’s goal as a musician is to create a shared experience with her fans where they can open their minds to new levels of existence and awakenings of their own. Nitro Nitra is excited to represent Delaware, where she began her musical journey.
Florida: Ale Zabala — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Flirt”
Hometown: Miami, FL
Resident: Parkland, FL
Alexa Zabala, known professionally as Ale Zabala, is an American singer, songwriter, musician and dancer. She’s a Latin pop artist as well as a writer for other singers and started writing when she was 13. Ale went to college for music business and met her first producer with whom she began writing all of her songs. She released her first single in 2019 and is constantly in music sessions writing for other artists and working on new musical projects. Ale is ready to represent Florida, where she went to her first concert and to school to study music.
Georgia: Stela Cole — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “DIY”
Hometown: Peachtree City, GA
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
Stela Cole is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Living in the ATL until she was 18, it is where she has spent the bulk of her life, and her reason for loving music. Stela formally announced herself in 2018 with her debut single, “You F O,” which Refinery 29 labeled “addictive” while Pop Dust promised “Stela Cole will absolutely blow your mind.” After 2020’s sophomore EP, “Woman of the Hour,” Stela blazed through 2021 growing her audience exponentially in the process. She enters this year with 1 million monthly listeners, 500,000 followers across her social accounts, and millions of people recognizing her vocal style and lyrics. She’s honored to represent Georgia, a place she still considers home.
Guam: Jason J. — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Midnight”
Hometown: Yona, Guam
Resident: Glendale, CA
Jason J. is an independent artist, songwriter and father of two known for his distinct vocals and blend of island reggae and alternative music. Since Jason first started writing original music in 2004, he has now gone on to play multiple national tours and large reggae festivals. He made the top 10 of the Billboard reggae chart in 2017 with his first solo release, “Luminosity EP.” Jason come from a traditional Filipino family and spent the first 23 years of his life surrounded by Guam culture and its musical influences.
Hawaii: Bronson Varde — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “4 You”
Hometown: Ewa Beach, HI
Resident: Pearl City, HI
Bronson Varde is a singer/songwriter who grew up listening to Hawaiian and island reggae music termed “Jawaiian” by the locals. This style of music heavily influenced him as a songwriter and he still incorporates it in his music today. Varde has gained a local following with original music released under the band name No Pressure. He continues to follow his passion for music and songwriting in hopes that one day his songs will be heard around the world. He feels he’s not only representing himself in this competition, but a whole state and culture.
Idaho: Andrew Sheppard — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Steady Machine”
Hometown: Hailey, ID
Resident: Boise, ID
Andrew Sheppard is a singer, songwriter, and musician who started making albums in 2009 and has been touring and recording ever since. His last album, “Steady Your Aim,” was released in 2018. Andrew’s music is often described as heartland rock. No matter how his music hits you, it’ll give you a glimpse of where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Illinois: Justin Jesso — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Lifeline”
Hometown: Glencoe, IL
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
Justin Jesso grew up in the relatively small village of Glencoe, Illinois – just under 30 minutes from Chicago. His family’s musical roots run deep in the state of Illinois, with his great grandfather being a bandleader in Chicago in the 20’s. As a celebrated artist and songwriter, Justin has over a billion streams for his collaborations with international pop greats such as Ricky Martin, Maluma, the Backstreet Boys and Norwegian producer Kygo (co-writing and featuring on his global smash “Stargazing”). Signed to Sony, Justin released his debut EP, “Let It Be Me,” in 2019, featuring singles “Getting Closer” and “Let It Be Me” (featuring Nina Nesbitt). His most recent DJ collaborations with Alle Farben, “As Far as Feelings Go,” peaked at #3 on the German radio charts, and his follow-up single, “Bigger Than,” with Norwegian producing duo Seeb (Pill In Ibiza) has over 60 million streams.
Indiana: UG skywalkin — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Love in My City”
Resident: Greenwood, IN
Josh Kimbowa, known as UG skywalkin, is a hip-hop pop artist and songwriter. He’s known for his charismatic stage performance and ability to capture the energy and engagement of the crowd. UG skywalkin has toured the world doing shows and musical festivals. Although he is from Uganda, UG skywalkin and his family now call Indiana home.
Iowa: Alisabeth Von Presley — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Wonder”
Hometown: Marion, IA
Resident: Cedar Rapids, IA
Alisabeth Von Presley is a pink-haired pop rock artist raised on a well-balanced diet of Pat Benatar, a plateful of glitter and a touch of Midwestern sass. She has left memorable impacts on stages from Los Angeles to New York with her full-blown and fully choreographed pop-rock production. She’s as edgy as she is authentic and is an advocate for female empowerment through her music, lyrics, public platforms and work in area schools. Alisabeth toured on the heels of her “Diamonds in the Blackout” album and recently played a show for over 16,000 in her home town of Cedar Rapids. With her live shows drawing rave reviews, this girl is a performer to watch.
Kansas: Broderick Jones — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Tell Me”
Hometown: Little Rock, AR
Resident: Olathe, KS
Broderick Jones is a singer/songwriter known for his smooth vocals and gravitating stage performances. Broderick raked up over 35 million streams alone with no backing, helping him put a spotlight on the city and move closer towards his dream of becoming the biggest artist ever from Kansas. Broderick is thrilled to represent his state and show America that if he can make it from here, than anyone can.
Kentucky: Jordan Smith — 3rd Place
Original Song: “Sparrow”
Hometown: Harlan, KY
Resident: Corbin, KY
Jordan Smith is a singer/songwriter best known for winning season nine of NBC’s hit reality television series “The Voice.” The Kentucky native holds the record as the highest-selling artist in “The Voice” history, dethroning Adele’s “Hello” at #1 on the iTunes charts three times during his run on the show and becoming the first artist ever to replace himself at #1 on the Christian Billboard chart. Jordan has since released four albums and toured extensively around the world, sharing the stage with artists such as Patti LaBelle, Jordin Sparks and Lionel Richie. He also wrote the song “Ashes,” performed by Celine Dion for the movie “Deadpool 2.” Being a Kentuckian is something Jordan has always been proud of and representing the state is an honor.
Louisiana: Brittany Pfantz — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Now You Do”
Hometown: DeRidder, LA
Resident: Nashville, TN
Brittany Pfantz’s music is perfumed with the sounds she was raised on: Louisiana swamp, rock, gospel, and down-in-your-gut soul. She parades her roots honestly, like the street bands of New Orleans, where she learned how to stay true to the music and to herself. Brittany just finished recording her debut EP with Grammy Award-winning producer Jacquire King and is currently shopping the project and playing shows around Nashville. She is representing Louisiana because even though she lives in Nashville, it will always be in her roots.
Maine: King Kyote — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Get Out Alive”
Hometown: York, ME
Resident: Portland, ME
King Kyote is a recording artist who has toured extensively in the Northeast as well as around the country. Harken to a night of whiskey drinking in a cabin among the Maine pines, King echoes the yells of rock ‘n’ roll’s forefathers while having a deeply rooted harmony with roots rock, singer-songwriter and folk genres. He has played at iconic venues throughout Maine and local festivals, as well as shows with many local popular acts such as Ghosts of Paul Revere, Rustic Overtones and The Mallet Brothers Band.
Maryland: Sisqo — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “It’s Up”
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Sisqó, longtime frontman of the multi-platinum group Dru Hill and a Grammy Award-nominated solo artist, is a 25-year music veteran whose hits include “Tell Me,” “Incomplete,” “In My Bed,” “5 Steps,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “We’re Not Making Love No More” and the smash single “The Thong Song.” In 2000, he won six Billboard Music Awards, including Male Artist of the Year. He was born Mark Althavean Andrews in Baltimore, a city synonymous with drugs and extreme violence, and it served as the rearing site for an artist who has exceeded expectations throughout his life. At a time when charismatic singers who can really sing and dance is a rarity, Sisqó shines as the consummate showman fearless in his pursuit to push the limits of creativity.
Massachusetts: Jared Lee — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Shameless”
Hometown: Boston, MA
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
Jared Lee is a singer, songwriter and platinum-selling producer who has amassed well over 80 million streams online writing and producing for a diverse group of globally renowned artists, including Jason Derulo, Jordin Sparks, TIESTO and Michael Bolton. He has been enlisted by some of the world’s top DJ’s, including Nicky Romero, Markus Schulz and Fedde Le Grand, to write and feature as a lead vocalist on their original music. Jared wrote, produced and performed the theme song “Don’t Wish Your Life Away” for the film “Fantasy Island.” His most recent collaborations include “Those Were the Days” with Midnight Kids (top 10 song on U.S. dance charts), ”Ain’t Deep Enough” with Autograf and “Afterglow” with Nicky Romero and Gattuso. He is representing his home state of Massachusetts.
Michigan: Ada LeAnn — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Natalie”
Hometown: Battle Creek, MI
Resident: Battle Creek, MI
Ada LeAnn is a 16-year-old singer and songwriter from Michigan and known for her ability to write emotional lyrics about relationships that are real and relatable to her audience. Ada strives to be a voice for teenagers like herself to show them that they are heard, understood and not alone. She has released two EPs and multiple covers with a discography of 18 songs.
Minnesota: Yam Haus — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Ready to Go”
Hometown: Jacob Felstow (Macomb, MI), Lars Pruitt, Seth William Blum and Zach Beinlich (Hudson, WI)
Resident: Jacob Felstow and Zach Beinlich (St. Paul, MN), Lars Pruitt (Stillwater, MN) and Seth William Blum (Hudson, WI)
Yam Haus invites everyone into the embrace of their neon-hued, dance floor-tailored alternative pop. The Minneapolis quartet and childhood friends fuse together intimate songcraft with stadium-size ambition. Right out of the gate, their 2018 single “West Coast” caught traction and eventually notched north of 1 million streams. In the wake of their full-length debut album “Stargazer,” they shared bills with the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Tori Kelly, Adam Lambert, Bishop Briggs, Andy Grammar, AWOLNATION, lovelytheband, JOHNNYSWIM and more. Their single “The Thrill” gathered 948,000 Spotify streams and paved the way for “The Band Is Gonna Make It” EP in 2020. After independently amassing nearly 15 million total views and streams, playing to sold out crowds and building a fervent fanbase, they continue to release new music in 2022 with producer Mark Needham.
Mississippi: Keyone Starr — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Fire”
Hometown: Jackson, MS
Resident: Duluth, GA
Keyoné Starr is a Mississippi preacher’s daughter and a Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and producer. A powerhouse rock ‘n’ roll soulful-singing flower child, Keyoné humorously refers to herself as the love child of Aretha Franklin and Lenny Kratviz. Keyoné sings in the language of the heart with her clear powerful vocals and captivates her audiences. Her declaration performance of the hit single “I Can’t Lose,” featured on Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Special” album, landed in the Billboard Top 20 chart and has well over 7 million streaming views, affording her opportunities to sing, write and produce music across Australia, Germany, London, Malaysia and Spain.
Missouri: HALIE — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Better Things”
Hometown: Thayer, MO
Resident: Nashville, TN
Singer, songwriter and model HALIE was born and raised in Thayer, Mo., where country music was prevalent. After graduating from high school, HALIE moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. As a distant relative of country music legend Jimmie Rodgers, music is in her bloodline, inspiring her dream to become a musician. One of her greatest opportunities so far was becoming a winner on NBC’s “Songland” after Martina McBride chose to record her song “Girls Like Me.” HALIE is thrilled to represent her home state of Missouri on “American Song Contest.”
Montana: Jonah Prill — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Fire It Up”
Hometown: Billings, MT
Resident: Billings, MT
Over a million people across the country and around the world were initially roped in by Jonah Prill’s cowboy charm and simple way of life with his horses, cowboy charm and Montana lifestyle on TikTok. With his account, Jonah gained a loyal following of over a million people by 2020 to see his journey to country music stardom. From rocking school assemblies in 3rd grade, singing in choirs through europe by highschool, and joining every band in college. It wasn’t long before Prill knew he wanted to release his own music and become a household name in country music. This Casanova’s ability to infuse his country music heritage and down-home upbringing into the lyrics and melodies of his music is what might make him one of the genre’s most intriguing new artists. The grandson of country artist Dean Evans, Prill seems poised to lead a new generation into a new chapter, a chapter filled with pages of an authentic life lived by a simple man from Billings, Montana.
Nebraska: Jocelyn — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Never Alone”
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Resident: Omaha, NE
Nebraska native Jocelyn combines her observant outlook on life, love and music to write positive songs that both motivate and inspire. She has toured with Darius Rucker, Hootie and the Blowfish and Barenaked Ladies. Jocelyn also had the great privilege to partner with Boys Town National Hotline, a Nebraska nonprofit that is dedicated to providing a safe home for children of all races and religions, and Hope Squad on the Kindness Tour, bringing her positive music and message along with suicide prevention resources to schools across the country. She was featured on “Celebrity Undercover Boss” with Rucker and “Showtime at the Apollo” with Steve Harvey. Jocelyn wants to represent Nebraska to spread the message of Boys Town as well as her love for the state.
Nevada: The Crystal Method — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Watch Me Now”
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
For nearly three decades, the Crystal Method has remained one of the most influential and well-respected acts in electronic music. Co-founded by Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan in 1993, the Grammy Award-nominated duo defined the sound of a generation — pioneering the big-beat genre, popularizing electronic music with mainstream audiences and establishing America as a force in the European and British music scene. While Kirkland reimagined the Crystal Method as a solo act in 2017 following Jordan’s retirement, the momentum has never slowed — even during a pandemic. Now, after an unprecedented few years, the innovative musician, producer and DJ continues the evolution with the Crystal Method’s seventh studio album and his second solo outing, “The Trip Out.” Growing up in Las Vegas, Scott got to see first-hand how quickly the city and state grew in size and relevance to the broader entertainment world. So for him to be able to come back and represent the great state of Nevada for “ASC” is a thrill.
New Hampshire: MARi — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Fly”
Hometown: Milford, NH
Resident: New York, NY and Miami, FL
MARi is a singer-songwriter with powerhouse pipes and red carpet-ready fierce fashion that embodies all the makings of a superstar. Her Cuban and Puerto Rican roots play a large factor in her music, as does her hometown in New Hampshire, larger than life personality and fashion (as seen in both New York & London Fashion Week). MARi is a Billboard top 20-charting artist, top 5 in the UK and has participated in mega-parades, and appeared on “Despierta America” (“Good Morning America”) and “La Voz,” the Spanish version of “The Voice.”
New Jersey: Brooke Alexx — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “I Don’t Take Pictures Anymore”
Hometown: Old Tappan, NJ
Resident: Nashville, TN
Pop starlet meets girl next door in Brooke Alexx – an Asian-American New Jerseyan songwriter, singer, performer, director and editor. Brooke wields her creative powers to inspire young women just as Taylor Swift inspired her to start writing songs of vulnerability and empowerment at age 13. Her magnetic melodies, paired with her ever-relatable coming-of-age lyrics, have resonated more in 2021 than any other year through a familial-focused EP. Brooke’s confidence and contagious personality oozed into 2022 on the back of her first festival performance at Lollapalooza, a brand collaboration with IKEA and a sync license in Netflix’s film “Resort to Love.”
New Mexico: Khalisol — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Drop”
Hometown: Albuquerque, NM
Resident: Albuquerque, NM
Zachary Chicoine, also known as Khalisol, is a 26-year-old from New Mexico who has found success in the music industry through ghost writing for various K-pop groups while also producing and releasing his own music. His music, which can be found on all major platforms, is a breath of fresh air, mixing soul and hip-hop to create a very distinct sound. He delivers lyrics that speak on his life and view of the world around him as well as within his spirit. It has earned him double platinum, platinum and gold certifications in K-pop with groups Super M and NCT Dream. Khalisol has also created a successful streetwear clothing brand and is offering musical workshops.
New York: ENISA — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Green Light”
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Resident: Brooklyn, NY
New York local ENISA has spent her whole life preparing for this journey as a first-generation American born to Albanian parents. Following her graduation from Brooklyn’s esteemed Edward R. Murrow High School, she attended Brooklyn College and continued to develop her unique musical vision. A series of distinctive cover versions exploded across social media, earning her millions of views and critical acclaim from the likes of Complex, XXL, ThisSongIsSick and more. ENISA continued to hone her diverse musical approach, infusing contemporary soul pop with Middle Eastern flourishes inspired by her own Muslim heritage. Track releases like Scridge and Genda’s viral smash “Karma (Remix)” and such solo singles as “Burn This Bridge” and “Wait for Love” showcased a spectacular knack for raw soul and endless attitude, earning her close to 16 million views and more than 3 million global streams.
North Carolina: John Morgan — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Right in the Middle”
Hometown: Sylva, NC
Resident: Nashville, TN
With a style that’s defined by melodic grit and a craftsman’s approach to songwriting, John Morgan brings a blue-collar toughness to country that’s pulled straight from the only life he knows. Hailing from a tiny town called Sylva, deep in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, John grew up immersed in bluegrass tradition and even toured the festival circuit each summer in a family band before diving into songwriting, inspired by six-string legends from Tony Rice to John Mayer. More than a year after selling everything he had to follow his dream, an only-in-Nashville story involving an Uber driver named John Edwards and impressive demos led to a writing session with Kurt Allison and Tully Kennedy — two incredible songwriters and longtime bandmates of country superstar Jason Aldean. That session led to Aldean cutting eight songs written by John, including his Grammy Award-nominated #1 smash hit with Carrie Underwood, “If I Didn’t Love You” and Aldean signing John to Night Train Records, his imprint with BBR Music Group. John’s debut track, “Coldest Beer in Town,” was released in 2021 while he toured the nation as part of Aldean’s “Back in the Saddle” tour. John is proud to represent his home state of North Carolina.
North Dakota: Chloe Fredericks — 9th Place
Original Song: “Can’t Make You Love Me”
Hometown: Halliday, ND
Resident: Halliday, ND
Chloe Fredericks grew up listening to some of country music’s great artists, including Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris, and often receives comparisons to powerhouse singer-songwriters Adele and Amy Winehouse. Her mom would always call Chloe her “little singing birdy” and some of Chloe’s fondest memories are singing alongside her dad. She was raised on a ranch in North Dakota and learned the cowboy way of living – if you get bucked off of a horse, you get right back on. It’s helped carry Chloe through the more trying times in the ever-changing music business.
Northern Mariana Islands: Sabyu — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Sunsets and Seaturtles”
Hometown: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Resident: Olympia, WA
Matthew Sablan, known musically as Sabyu, is a Pacific Islander singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, artist mentor and multi-instrumentalist. He is known for his eclectic music style combining island roots and Stateside influences alike, blending reggae, rock, soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz and world music. Sabyu mentors young artists with a Seattle-based non-profit, Totem Star, guiding aspiring youth along their own music journeys. He makes music to bring all walks of life together in the name of love, spirit and humanity, and wants to let everyone know that even if you come from a small island, you can make big waves around the world.
Ohio: Macy Gray — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Every Night”
Hometown: Canton, Ohio
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
Macy Gray, the renowned artist, actor and activist from Canton, Ohio, is no stranger to saying what needs to be said and acting on her words. The musical bodies of work she has produced throughout her career are a testament to her exquisite vision and unyielding devotion to her craft. Her sleek, sultry and mature take on R&B draws from decades worth of history. Yet, her ability to still sound forward-thinking and fresh is what reaffirms and reasserts her as a signature rarity in music. Since Macy broke into the music scene in 1999 with the release of her debut triple-platinum album, “On How Life Is,” she has become a powerhouse of R&B and soul, amassed a devoted global fan base and sold more than 25 million total albums globally. A five-time Grammy Award nominee, Gray won for Best Pop Vocal Performance in 2000 for her iconic song “I Try” and has received two BRIT Awards. Macy’s latest album, “The Reset,” will be released later year. The album is primed to create further discussion about what is happening in today’s world and will help redefine what pop music should be while still providing music lovers with good times and a great message. The daughter of a math teacher and a steel factory worker, Gray grew up in a house next to the local farm – a place still near and dear to her heart where she received the encouragement to become the star she is today.
Oklahoma: AleXa — Winner
Original Song: “Wonderland”
Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Resident: Seoul, South Korea
Proud to represent the state where she was born and raised until the age of 21, Alex Christine, known professionally as AleXa (알렉사), is a K-pop singer, dancer and songwriter who grew up in Tulsa. A lifelong dancer, AleXa was first drawn to K-pop because of its strong performance identity. After nearly a million fan votes determined her the winner of online talent competition Rising Legends, she was one of the 96 chosen to participate in “Produce 48,” the most competitive audition show in Korea. In 2019, AleXa made her multilingual K-pop debut with “Bomb,” which has received nearly 22 million views to date and hit #7 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart. A year later AleXa released extended plays “Do Or Die” and “Decoherence,” garnering wins for two of Korea’s most prestigious awards. In 2021, AleXa released Y2K-inspired “ReviveR” with dance track “Xtra,” performed the national anthem for the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the first K-pop artist to host a fan meeting in the metaverse within the action shooter game Scavengers.
Oregon: courtship. — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Million Dollar Smoothies”
Hometown: Portland, OR
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
The best things in life usually happen by accident and the genesis of courtship. is no exception. Micah Gordon and Eli Hirsch were both session musicians in Los Angeles who met at a gig. During their downtime on the first day, they instantly realized they had something special. Micah is a classically trained jazz pianist and was influenced by Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Miles Davis. Eli grew up with the likes of Blink-182, Passion Pit and Weezer and together they’re the Larry David of indie pop. The boys spent the last few years on the road touring with artists such as Dayglow, Passion Pit, the Hunna, Weezer, the Wombats, Magic City Hippies and Night Riots all while garnering millions of streams. The duo’s sophomore album is set to release in 2022 and is a testament to everything that courtship. is – authentic, witty and feel-good. To courtship., Oregon is a magical place where they first started playing in bands and exploring music.
Pennsylvania: Bri Steves — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Plenty Love”
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Resident: Philadelphia, PA
Atlantic Records’ new rapper, singer and songwriter Bri Steves will not fit in any societal boxes. The 25-year-old MC from Philadelphia is as multi-layered as she is multi-talented and was first inspired by greats such as Marvin Gaye and Lauryn Hill. At age 10, she began studying the viola at the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Some years later, champion lyricists like Biggie, Joey Bad Ass and J Cole inspired her to start rapping. While attending Temple University, she began experimenting with her singing voice and eventually maturated into a double threat on the mic. Before graduating, she signed with Atlantic Records and balanced her final collegiate year alongside studio time in Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles where she worked with several high-level producers, including Sonny Digital.
Puerto Rico: Christian Pagan — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Loko”
Hometown: Yabucoa, PR
Resident: Humacao, PR
Christian Pagán is a singer, songwriter, musician and actor known for winning the first edition of “Idol Puerto Rico,” a feat that showcased his versatility and depth as a vocal performer. His first studio album, “Más de lo Que Soy,” debuted at #6 on Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums chart and his single, “Desde que se fue,” also hit the charts. Christian was also cast in the Telemundo telenovela “Guerra de Ídolos” where he had the opportunity to write songs for the soundtrack. Recently, he was featured in the Amazon TV series “The Bay.”
Rhode Island: Hueston — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “Held On Too Long”
Hometown: North Kingstown, RI
Resident: Lake Worth, FL
Originally from Rhode Island, artist, songwriter and producer Cory Hueston was previously the frontman of the indie/alternative-duo the Blancos, but has since shifted his sights to his very first solo project. Drawing from past and present experiences, his dark and soulful sonics highlight his innate abilities as both a writer and producer. With a voice and energy of a mystic viking, the only thing overshadowing his vocals is his wild fingerings on the six string. Mysterious and gritty, his new sound represents the hard-working people of his hometown.
South Carolina: Jesse LeProtti — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Not Alone”
Hometown: Irmo, SC
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
Jesse Christopher Blocker III, known professionally as Jesse LeProtti, is known for his wide vocal range, crisp live performances and diverse music catalog that includes pop, R&B, soul, electronic and many more styles. Jesse strives to bring back “real music,” making listeners feel a sense of deja vu while keeping it 100% authentic to himself. Being from South Carolina has played a huge role in who he is today – musically and mentally. Two of his biggest musical influences, James Brown and Darius Rucker, are from South Carolina. He is proud to represent his home state as the people of South Carolina have the “go getter” and “never give up” mentality which has led him to where he is today.
South Dakota: Judd Hoos — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Bad Girl”
Hometown: Spearfish, SD
Resident: Rapid City, SD
Judd Hoos is a rock band from the Black Hills of South Dakota. The band’s line up consists of Tyler Bills, Shane Funk, Chris Hornick, and Andy Young. In the past 12 months, Judd Hoos has released a new EP, “Not Alone,” organized the Nashville Comes to the Black Hills songwriting camp and hosted the first-ever Judd Hoos Charity Jam. They appeared on multiple tour stops with Nashville rockers the Wild Feathers, played close to 100 Midwest clubs, theaters, festivals and fairs and even shared the stage with rock icon Billy Idol. In addition to recording new music, they have renewed a tour sponsorship deal with Remedy Brewing Company for the second straight year and collaborated on their own IPA, Hoos Joos.
Tennessee: Tyler Braden — 10th Place
Original Song: “Seventeen”
Hometown: Montgomery, AL
Resident: Nashville, TN
Tyler Braden was inspired to pursue a musical career from a young age by legend Hank Williams. He moved from his small town in Alabama to Nashville to pursue a career in music, teaching himself guitar and working as a firefighter in the meantime. He’s now a budding star with more than 70 million streams to his name and a growing list of major tour credits. In January, Braden made his Grand Ole Opry debut setting the tone for big things to come this year, including representing Tennessee on “American Song Contest.” Tennessee is where his music career really found its footing and he says he owes it all to the state. Tyler is prepared and excited to represent it in the best way he knows how.
Texas: Grant Knoche — 4th Place
Original Song: “Mr. Independent”
Hometown: Frisco, TX
Resident: Los Angeles, CA
Grant Knoche, 19, taught himself to write and produce in his childhood bedroom and he hasn’t looked back since. Grant’s synth-driven, deep bass and intimate pop songs have all been written and produced by him. On his way to gathering over 900,000 followers, Grant has spent most of his life on the road performing more than 160 shows across America, including on “Today,” at Radio City Music Hall, Woodstock and many other locales. Grant’s debut EP, “Color Me Blue,” has been featured on multiple top playlists and he was recently called out by Ones to Watch as “One of today’s finest rising pop stars.” Grant’s excited to represent his home state of Texas.
U.S. Virgin Islands: Cruz Rock — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Celebrando”
Hometown: Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Resident: Miami, FL
Cruz Rock (born Frankie Garcia) is a Latin Caribbean singer, songwriter and producer whose heritage traces back to Trinidad and Tobago as well as Puerto Rico and Vieques. Born to a Trinidadian mother and a Puerto Rican father, he’s very influenced by these cultures so his music fuses Caribbean, American and Latin styles.
Utah: Savannah Keyes — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Sad Girl”
Hometown: Sandy, UT
Resident: Nashville, TN
From Utah originally, Savannah Keyes has been writing songs since age 13 after appearing on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Her influences in the pop world and roots in country music allow her to bring a new mix for the country genre. After moving to Nashville, she became a radio host and correspondent for Radio Disney Country’s new show “Let the Girls Play” and released a debut EP, “I’m Not California.”
Vermont: Josh Panda — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Rollercoaster”
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Resident: Burlington, VT
Josh Panda is known for his passionate stage performances, booming four-octave vocal range and for playing in a wide range of musical styles, including pop, Americana, country, soul, blues, disco and rock. Josh has currently released three studio and one live albums, and has toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Josh is thrilled to represent Vermont as he feels its people have always embraced him as he is, and he is proud to call the state home.
Virginia: Almira Zaky — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Over You”
Hometown: Herndon, VA
Resident: Herndon, VA
Almira Zaky’s journey as a vocalist began at a young age when she would perform for thousands all around the Washington, D.C., area at several venues including World Bank, the Embassy of Indonesia, University of District of Columbia, University of Maryland, and events such as the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival. Almira is inspired by artists such as Kehlani, Jhene Aiko, Jojo and Ariana Grande and attributes her rhythmic R&B/pop influence to ’90s-’00s music. Her vibrant presence, outspoken lyrical skill, soulful tone and ability to relate to audiences all over the world has inspired others to become the boss of their own life. Almira, who is Muslim and proud of her Indonesian heritage, is very honored to represent her home state of Virginia, as it is the home to so many hip-hop/R&B musical legends, including Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Chad Hugo and Missy Elliot.
Washington: Allen Stone — 5th Place
Original Song: “A Bit of Both”
Hometown: Chewelah, WA
Resident: Spokane, WA
Allen Stone was raised in the small town of Chewelah, Wash., and grew up on gospel music, spending much of his childhood as a pastor’s son watching his parents lead their congregation in song. By the time he was 11, he’d picked up a guitar, wrote his first song and soon began self-recording demo tapes to pass along to classmates. After dropping out of college, he moved to Seattle to kickstart his music career, often driving up and down the West Coast to play any and all gigs he could. He quickly developed a reputation for powerful live shows, playing up to 200 dates a year. In the years since, Allen has built a devoted following on the strength of his ability to channel a weight-of-the-world sensitivity into his songs while still radiating hope and promise. His easy grace in blending everything from edgy soul-pop and earthy folk-rock to throwback R&B and Parliament-inspired funk is reflected in his five full length albums – from his 2010 self-released debut album, “Last to Speak,” to 2021’s “Apart,” an intimate album recorded in a converted cabin during the pandemic. As a performer who has traveled the world, coming back to Washington has always been the only place Allen wants to call home. He is honored to be representing his state in this competition.
Washington D.C.: NEITHER — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “I Like It”
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Resident: Washington, D.C.
NËITHER, is a multi-disciplinary creative who has written songs alongside legends George Clinton (“Parliament”) and Ty$, developed original content for Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions (“The Chi,” “Queen + Slim”), sung background for Childish Gambino and acted in shows produced by Broadway heavyweights Charles Randolph Wright, Kenny Leon and Oprah Winfrey. This magic and mystery is what has colored him in such a dynamic way, with his music leaning into an eclectic sonic blend of R&B, hip-hop, pop and even classical elements. NËITHER wants to contribute to the new voice and history of the D.C. area and redefine what it means to be an artist from there.
West Virginia: Alexis Cunningham — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Working on a Miracle”
Hometown: Huntington, WV
Resident: Collegeville, PA
Born and raised in West Virginia, Alexis Cunningham got her start on YouTube writing songs on her acoustic guitar and signed her first development deal at age 19. Two years later she recorded an EP with touring musician and producer Robin DiMaggio. At age 23, she wrote and recorded a folk album with music producer Eric Bazilian and toured Sweden. Together, Alexis and Bazilian have entered into a long-lasting creative partnership, writing and recording a multitude of styles. It was with Slovenian producer Martin Stibernik that they found their right sound in a new album with the first single, “The Medicine,” released early this year. Alexis is thrilled to represent her home state on “American Song Contest.”
Wisconsin: Jake’O — Eliminated in Qualifiers
Original Song: “Feel Your Love”
Hometown: Loreto Ridge, WI
Resident: Plain, WI
Jake’O is an American vocalist, guitarist, performer, and entertainer from Plain, Wisconsin. He combines vintage vibes, modern motifs, futuristic flair in every original song by fusing Rock ’n’ Roll, Blues, Pop, and R&B. Jake’O, the originator of the Nuvo-Retro sound —a term he coined to describe his genre and style— combines vintage vibes, modern motifs, and futuristic flair in every original song. He has built a reputation in Wisconsin by using his soulful vibrato voice, reverberating mile-wide guitar tone, electric showmanship, and signature baby blue brand. He is excited to make his family, friends and fans from his home of Wisconsin proud as he takes the national stage.
Wyoming: Ryan Charles — Eliminated in Semi-Finals
Original Song: “New Boot Goofin'”
Hometown: Buffalo, WY
Resident: Nashville, TN
Western rapper Ryan Charles from Wyoming brings a style all his own — meshing the cowboy lifestyle with flow of 2000’s rap. A natural-born entertainer, Charles quickly became one of the most skilled freestyle rappers on the school bus. As an artist, Charles has released a few singles, including the jiggy buckaroo bop “Gettin’ Western” in 2020 and most recently “Old Dirt Fancy” in 2021. Known for his signature fashion sense, light-hearted twang and high-energy live shows, Charles now continues to work on new music in Nashville.