Briana Oakley is another returning contestant determined to do better in her second try at American Idol.
And she got off to a good start at the San Francisco auditions, breezing through to Hollywood on an unanimous “yes.”
In fact, when Keith Urban stopped her rendition of Sara Bareillis’ “Stay,” he said he could have allowed Briana to continue singing, but it would have been only for his own enjoyment.
In her Road to Hollywood video, the 17-year-old student also said she appreciated the feedback from Harry Connick Jr.
“He said that I was incredibly mature, which is pretty awesome, because last season I looked all of 16,” Briana said. “I’ve gotten that a lot — that I seem a lot more mature and older. That’s awesome because it show growth, that I’ve changed.”
We met Briana at last year’s San Antonio auditions where she talked about how badly she was bullied in school.
The situation was so bad, she said she either ate lunch in a bathroom or with a teacher by her side.
She credited her mother with pushing her to continue pursuing music.
She was eliminated in Hollywood Week last year, but said she was determined to try Idol again the moment she was eliminated.
In terms of musical influences, Briana points to Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera, the latter two partly because of the longevity they’ve enjoyed in their careers.
And Briana says she enjoys all genres of music.
Music has been part of her life for a while. Back in 2009, she was featured on America’s Most Talented Kids.
I’ve also embedded videos of Briana performing below, including last year’s audition.
“Up To the Mountain” Idol Season 12 audition
National Anthem at Major League Baseball game
“And I’m Telling You” at age 11