You can’t leave the American Idol audition room with much better reviews than Ayla Stackhouse got in Detroit.
Not only did the 17-year-old from Detroit get three yes votes to advance to Hollywood.
Jennifer Lopez told her she has “star quality.” Keith Urban called her “a natural singer.”
Hard to please Harry Connick Jr. complimented her on “a smart audition,” then predicted she’ll “start exploding” as the show moves forward.
Even at such a young age, Ayla has a bit of a head start on the competition, at least most of the other singers her age.
She’s the young lady who’s been living with her aunt in California because she wants to pursue a career in entertainment.
She already has her own website, not to mention a catchy song on iTunes called “Somebody Who Loves Me” that was released in 2011. There’s talk there of a second single called “Ear Candy,” though I couldn’t find it on iTunes (the video is embedded below).
From her website bio, we learn that Ayla started taking voice lessons at 5, started training on piano at 8 and now also plays guitar, clarinet and cello. Oh, and she also acts.
In her Road to Hollywood video, Ayla says she auditioned because she happened to be visiting her family in Detroit at the same time Idol came calling, but wasn’t sure she’d make it because she saw so many other talented singers being turned away.
She points to Michael Jackson as a major musical influence, and she thinks her versatility as a singer will help set her apart on Idol.
“Most people just focus on one genre,” she says. “For me, I just can’t sing R&B. I love everything and so I love to mix in elements of each genre to make something unique and special.”
I’ve embedded some videos of Ayla’s music below. You can hear more under the music tab on her website.
For profiles of more than 90 other Season 13 contestants, head here.
“Summertime” (City of Hope cancer research show)
“Ear Candy” (original)
“Somebody to Love Me” (snippet of 2011 single)