Camryn Leigh Smith (age 16), a high school student from Georgia, performed the gospel song “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs during the Hawaii Showcase and Final Judgment round on American Idol 2020 (Season 18).
“Break Every Chain” is the lead single of Tasha Cobbs’ major-label debut studio album Grace (2013). The song was originally written and performed by Will Reagan and the United Pursuit Band in 2009. But Cobbs’ version of the song is the first commercially successful and accepted within the gospel community. The song topped the Billboard Gospel Songs chart in 2012 and at the 56th Grammy Awards, the song won a Grammy for “Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance”.
Top 40 contender Camryn said it isn’t a performance song but she hopes the judges will see her heart on it. Camryn said she wants to sing a song about the most important thing in her life.
American Idol judges acknowledged that Camryn could sing well but they did not seem pleased with her song choice for such a crucial round in the competition. Judge Katy Perry commented that Camryn has a cool voice but Lionel Richie said he didn’t connect for some weird reason. Katy replied, “When you’re tryin’ to connect to people, just remember like ‘what’s the best thing I could sing that would include everyone?'” Luke Bryan agreed with Katy.
During their final judgment, Katy Perry said Camryn did not take a risk for her performance and instead went back into her safe zone of being a fantastic worship leader. Katy said that although Camryn has a God-given beautiful voice and that God surely has a plan for her, it will not be on American Idol anymore.
American Idol: Season 18
Episode: “Hawaii Showcase and Final Judgment, Part 1”
Performance: “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs
Audition: Camryn Leigh Smith audition
When Camryn came in for the Final Judgment, Katy commented that it’s like looking in the mirror when she looks at Camryn. Luke Bryan noted Camryn’s likeness to a young Katy Perry during her audition.
Asked what kind of artist she thinks she is, Camryn replied that she feels most connected when she sings songs to the Lord.
Katy Perry said, “Last night, we were looking for a risk. And it felt like you went back into that safe zone of knowing that you are a fantastic worship leader. You know you can do that, kind of, with your eyes closed. But here in American Idol we got to see that growth. The reason why I love someone like Lauren Daigle is ’cause it feels like come just as you are. You are accepted and everyone is invited.”
Katy continued by saying, “What you have is absolutely God-given. Beautiful voice. God has a plan for you, you know that. But unfortunately, it’s not gonna be on American Idol anymore. I was exactly right where you are. And my life has changed, perspective has changed. It’s a personal journey and no one’s telling you not to stand and be proud.”
Lionel Richie commented, “Take this and make it the step,” while Luke Bryan quipped, “Good job.”
Camryn did’t seem disappointed by not being picked as part of this season’s American Idol Top 20. She said God has a plan and she’s confident that it has music in it. Just as she was about to say something more, it rained and there was some real thunder and lightning. Camryn said, “The Lord is speaking right now.”
American Idol Season 18 premiered at 8PM, February 16, 2020 on ABC television and will air Sundays at 8/7c until the live shows. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, filming of American Idol is temporarily suspended and the production will assess things on a weekly basis.
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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