American Idol has already introduced us to dozens of singers in Season 13, but Ryan Nisbett qualifies as one of the more memorable.
There’s that pompadour. There’s that weight-loss story.
Then there’s that impressive rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” — while he was sick, no less.
Ryan, a 24-year-old art student from Deckerville, Mich., said he tipped the scales at 300 pounds when he was 20-21.
A gluten-free and dairy-free diet helped him lose most of the weight, he told Ryan Seacrest before stepping into the audition room sporting one of the snazziest male hairdos since Sanjaya Malakar’s ponyhawk.
(Ryan later tweeted this: “Takes me 15 minutes to do my hair. Don’t tell Keith.”
The Idol judges loved what they saw. And heard.
Jennifer Lopez called Ryan “one of a kind.” Harry Connick Jr. complimented him on “an incredibly unique voice,” one he hopes viewers give a chance “in the context of American Idol.”
And, just like that, the self-proclaimed hipster was off to the Hollywood round with a unanimous yes.
In his Road to Hollywood video, we learn that the Detroit auditions actually marked the fifth time Ryan has tried out for the show.
Ryan says he grew up on classic rock, so his musical influences include Freddie Mercury, Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey.
“I think what sets me apart as an artist is my voice, definitely, my appearance, my upbringing,” Ryan says. “I was raised in rural America, and I moved down to the city (Detroit) here to study art. Together, I think that gives me a unique perspective on the show and what kind of artist I want to be.”
For profiles of more than 90 other Season 13 contestants, head here.
Meanwhile, here’s a full-length version of Ryan performing “Angel.”