Cyniah Elise (age 17), a high school student from Atlanta, Georgia sang an amazing version of “You Are The Reason” by Calum Scott during the Auditions round of American Idol 2020 (Season 18).
“You Are the Reason” is a the second original single of English singer Calum Scott from his debut album Only Human. It was released in November 2017. The song has been streamed over one billion times and has sold over five million copies worldwide while its music video was has surpassed 500 million views on YouTube. It peaked at number 11 on the Billboard’s US Adult Contemporary chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
American Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan were bowled over by Cyniah’s performance and all of them praised her soulful voice. Lionel exclaimed “Hallelujah” while Katy Perry said, “Finally the Lord has blessed us.”
As expected from the judges’ comments, Cyniah’s sterling performance earned her a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Before Cyniah performed her audition piece, she told the judges she had a video of her singing with her family during Thanksgiving, which garnered 4 million views on Facebook. She said she chose to audition on American Idol because she had been a fan of the show since she was a kid.
On her performance, Lionel Richie commented, “I wanna tell you that was an excellent performance. You remind me very much of watching the phenomenon of Whitney when she first came. You just have such control and mastery of your voice. It was almost effortless.”
Luke Bryan said, “It’s just natural for you. I mean, I see why you got 4 million views, you know, at the snap of a finger. That was just really tastefully done from A to Z.”
Katy Perry commented, “Cyniah, when you went up those levels, like little bit by bit, it was so wonderful because when you thought maybe you would stop you just went one notch higher. It makes people’s hearts open when you go there. You know here’s the thing, you’re 17, you sing gospel songs, it’s amazing. I’ve had some of the same history. It’s going to ba about you developing who you are as an artist and not just as a phenomenal singer.”
When Katy asked for a vote, Lionel replied, “Oh I voted when she first opened her mouth. I voted right away, that was a clear YES.”
American Idol Season 18 premiered at 8PM, February 16, 2020 on ABC television and will air Sundays at 8/7c. Ryan Seacrest continues his role as the show’s host and Bobby Bones returns as the in-house mentor. Despite budget cuts, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie come back as judges for their third season of the series.
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