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Traditional Country on American Idol? Meet Alex Miller


Alex Miller is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter who is currently competing on season 19 of American Idol. The lifelong Garrard county native hails from the community of Lancaster, Kentucky, where he works part-time on his grandfather’s cattle farm.
In a pre-taped video before his audition, Alex explained “I’ve grown up around Garrard County and the farming community. My first word was ‘tractor.’ It’s always been special to me. I’ve learned a lot through farming, how to work hard and do things on your own.”

Alex’s interest in music was sparked by his grandfather’s love of traditional country music and an interest in trains. “My granddad would always listen to Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, and a lot of the older country artists,” Alex said “When I was a kid, I used to have a train table with these little wooden trains. Got me to wondering what kind of songs they sing about trains so I asked my granddad. He bought me a Hank Williams CD that had a song about a train on it. I listened to all the songs on the album and thought, ‘This guy is good!’

The song was Pan American and soon Alex found himself listening to other songs about his hobby such as Josh Turner’s “Long black train.” It wasn’t long before his love for songs about trains, developed into a love for the music and artists that sung it.
“I’ve read books and researched to learn about the music, the roots, their thoughts, and try to inspire myself,” Alex said, “The older artists are the guys I really look up to as far as music, and how to play in a band, how to organize a group, and make music the way it ought to be played.”

Alex had his first public performance just before the age of four when he performed ‘Me and God’ by Josh Turner at the Garrard County Fair. He was too young to remember much from that performance, but Alex clearly remembers performing at the Tobacco Festival in downtown Lancaster when he was seven. In an interview with the Garrard Central Record, Alex recalled the experience saying, “I got up there looking like George Strait or whatever. I’d been taking guitar lessons for about six months, so I wasn’t no Eddie Van Halen or nothing, but I got up there and did ‘My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it.  It was intimidating with that many people, but at that age I didn’t even realize how nice that gig was… to perform in front of so many.” Although he didn’t know it at the time, that performance in Downtown Lancaster would mark the beginning of his journey and the start of many new opportunities.  

Seven-year-old Alex was also experiencing changes in his personal life. His parents were going through a divorce and Alex explained “music was a way for me to cope with that and release a lot of that energy. It helped me through those times and I don’t know what I’d do without it.” Despite the separation, Alex’s family has been instrumental in supporting his music.

Throughout much of his early career, Alex was known as “Little Hank Williams” because of his small size and affinity for covering the legendary singer’s songs. Today at six foot five, you’d be hard-pressed to call Alex little, but you can still clearly hear the influence of those older artists in his vocal delivery.

Over the years his musical tastes have expanded and he describes his sound as  “bluegrass outlaw with a spiritual influence”. Alex’s grandfather is proud that Alex has stuck to his spiritual roots and said, “He loves to sing for the Lord. He’s never satisfied if he does a show unless he gets to close with a gospel.” As a kid, Alex often found himself singing in front of churchgoers and he is a regular feature on WLJC’s Hour of Harvest television show. He is also featured regularly on the Kentucky Music hall of fame’s Ol’ Home Place Gospel Hour.

Alex has made it clear that he’s committed to perfecting his craft and has built an impressive resume in the process. He has represented the Garrard County 4-H for the last 10 years at the Kentucky State Fair and in 2015 he finished in the top 12 at the Pigeon Forge “Path to fame contest.” Alex performed twice at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington and at just 10 years old, Alex was Renfro Valley’s youngest recurring act in their 75-plus year history. He’s performed at numerous festivals and Jamborees and recently finished second in the Kentucky FFA talent contest with his original song, “Always more Fish out in the sea.”

Today, Alex has almost 1000 performances under his belt and he hopes to gain some exposure by putting together an album in the near future. He describes singing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville as his ultimate long-term goal, but it was a conversation about his short-term goals that led him to American Idol.

Last Fall, Alex and his mom Brandi were filming a video for his social media accounts and they got into a discussion about this future what part music played in his life.
Brandi explained, “It was a serious discussion about music versus paying the bills,”
“I was just thinking, ‘Lord, he just needs a sign on how he needs to go on his path in life.” That sign would come later that evening while Brandi was online and saw America Idol was holding open-call auditions. “I signed him up and told him he was trying out,” she said. Alex felt it was a long shot but saw it as a chance to increase his exposure.
“I wanted to do ‘American Idol’ because I didn’t really have too many options as a musician right now,” Alex explained, “COVID has cut back on gigs and places I can play. I thought it was a way to get my name out there.

In September of 2000 Alex auditioned for Idol producers via Zoom from the middle of his living room. Choosing a song he was familiar with, Alex sang Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” The audition went well and Alex was scheduled for a second audition in front of a different set of producers. This time Alex performed his original song, “I’m Over You, So Get Over Me.” and the performance earned him a third round of Zoom auditions. By the end of his third audition, Alex was sure idol producers were going to tell him to stay in Lancaster and was shocked when they invited him to California to audition in front of the celebrity judges.

The next month, Alex and his mother flew to San Diego where Alex performed the song he wrote for his ex “I’m Over You, So Get Over Me.” When asked during an interview with WHAS 11 how his ex-girlfriend feels about the song, he said, “She took it really well, thank goodness,”

After his audition, Judge Lionel Richie told Alex “I am thrilled, Your personality is just infectious!”  Judge Luke Bryan asked “What happens if you were to ever play the Grand Ole Opry?”  Oh, I don’t know,” Miller responded. “I’d die and go to heaven.”
“I think I can make a call or something,” Bryan said.

With a little prompting from Judge Katy Perry, Alex received the experience of a lifetime and performed a duet with Luke Bryan of Merle Haggard’s Big City. After the duet, instead of giving Alex his golden ticket, the judges walked him to a private area where contestants can video chat with family members. Katy Perry announced they had some news as Luke Bryan held out a golden ticket and Alex learned he was on his way to Hollywood.

So how far will Alex go on American Idol?
The show has launched the careers of some of the world’s biggest country stars. For a young artist like Alex looking to introduce himself to potential fans, American Idol may be the perfect place. Do you think Alex has what it takes to win American Idol?
Let us know in the comments below.

What AGT didn’t tell you about Roberta Battaglia | America’s Got Talent Season 15

Roberta Battaglia is an 11-year-old singer who is currently competing on season 15 of America’s Got Talent. Roberta first caught the attention of most AGT viewers with her golden buzzer audition of Shallow by Lady Gaga.

Roberta was born in August of 2009 to Alessandro and Gabriella Battaglia. Her parents are both Italian and moved to Canada from Italy In 2008, just before she was born. Roberta comes from a musical family and started displaying her talent for singing at a young age. Roberta’s father is also a well-known singer and both her grandfather and great-grandfather are music teachers in Italy. She first started singing around the age of three, when her father would sing in restaurants and Roberta would sing twinkle twinkle little star whenever she was given a microphone.

Roberta performed one of her first Duets with her dad at 3 years old, singing “Mi Scappa La Pipi.” Her parents continued to nurture her talent and it wasn’t long before she started performing in local talent competitions. At the age of 4, Roberta finished in 4th place at Hidden talent Toronto 2014, where she performed Brave by Sara Bareilles. At the age of 6, Roberta could often be found performing with her father at birthday parties and weddings. Roberta also performed at local restaurants and the next clip shows her at the age of 7, singing “girl on fire” by Alicia keys at an Ontario restaurant.

Roberta’s lists her favorite music genres as R&B and jazz. She says Etta James, Aretha franklin and Pink are some of her favorite artists. Roberta explained Pink is the artist she would like to perform with the most and can be seen in the next clip performing Pink’s “what about us” at an event with her father.

In 2018, Roberta started her own charitable initiative designing and selling bracelets to raise money for Toronto’s SickKids hospital.
All of the money raised is donated to charity. Roberta explained, “I thought it would be a fun and creative way to make money,”

In March of 2019, Roberta appeared on the Toronto morning television show, “Breakfast television.”The then 9 year old singer performed Shallow by Lady Gaga during “kids got talent week.”  Later that year Roberta performed Lady Gaga’s Shallow at the 20th ideacity conference.

Also in 2019, Roberta came in second place at the CNE Rising Star Talent Competition for juniors. Roberta’s recent success did not go unnoticed.
AGT producers who had seen Roberta’s videos, reached out to her mom, to see if she would be interested in sending them an audition tape of her daughter. Ultimately, Roberta was selected from the audition tapes to audition for America’s Got Talent judges.

For her audition, Roberta once again performed the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper ballad, “Shallow.” The performance earned her a standing ovation from the audience and all four judges. After the performance, judge Simon Cowell said “You are so likeable, so humble, you must have great friends”
Roberta responded, “yes, but sometimes I do get bullied.”

Simon went on to say,” “There’s one way you win over bullies, It’s by being happy and successful.”
“Bullies are always threatened by talented people, so in a weird way… it’s a compliment,”

Judge Sofia Vergara said, “It was amazing. It was breathtaking,”
“You’re 10 years old. It’s impossible to sing like that at 10 years old.”
“You know what? Let’s see who’s going to bully you after this,” as she slammed the golden buzzer sending Roberta straight to the live shows.

During the live quarterfinal, Roberta performed a powerful rendition of “You Say” by Lauren Daigle

After the performance, Judge Sofia Vergara said “You have a special place in my heart.”
“I  cannot believe how spectacular you sing.”
“I think the world is going to open up for you after this experience.”

Guest Judge Kelly Clarkson said, “You’re incredible. I cannot believe your age,”
“Like, even if you are 27 and sound like that, your tone is so beautiful and it’s effortless. I can’t even wait to see what you do for the rest of your life.”

During the results show the next day, Roberta learned she had received enough votes from AGT viewers to advance to the next round.

Singer Lauren Daigle was also among the viewers wowed by Roberta’s performance, tweeting, “WOW girl you crushed it!!”

Roberta will perform tonight in the semifinal round where she will compete for one of 10 spots in the America’s Got Talent finale.
Do you think Roberta has what it takes to win season 15 of America’s Got Talent?

What AGT didn’t tell you about Sheldon Riley | America’s Got Talent Season 15

Sheldon Hernandez is a 21-year-old singer who is currently competing on season 15 of America’s Got Talent. Performing under the stage name Sheldon Riley, the Australian born singer first caught the attention of Got Talent fans with his audition of “I don’t want to be you anymore” by Billi Eilish.

The son of an Australian mother and a Filipino father, Sheldon has always had a passion for singing and stagecraft.
Sheldon explained, “When I was a little boy I wanted to be a dancer. I was singing, dancing around. I wanted to be on stage, and I didn’t really ‘get’ sport.”

Sheldon first appeared on the world stage in 2016 when he auditioned for The X factor Australia at the age of 17. He performed “The Circle of Life” by Elton John, but was stopped mid-rendition by Judge Iggy Azalea who wanted to hear something more current. Sheldon then sang a stirring acapella version of “Ordinary People” by John Legend. After the performance, Judge Iggy Azelea said “’I liked the first song but that second song just blew me away and it really put the nail in the coffin for me that like, you’re a star man. You’re awesome.”

Sheldon was initially rejected as a soloist during the boot camp portion of the show and was placed in the newly created four-member boy band “Time and Place” which was mentored by Iggy Azalea. The group successfully advanced from the three chair challenge before being eliminated during week 1 of the live shows.

In 2018,  Sheldon auditioned for Season 7 of the voice Australia. Hoping to catch the attention of judge Boy George, Sheldon took a risk for his blind audition and performed “Do you really want to hurt me” by Culture Club. The performance earned him four chair turns and a spot on team Boy George. Sheldon ultimately made it to the grand finale of the show, placing third overall with his performance of “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey

A year later, Sheldon returned to The Voice stage appearing on the season 8 all-star edition of the show. For his blind audition, Sheldon performed Madonna’s frozen while concealing his identity behind a crystal mask. Judges Kelly Rowland and Boy George had already filled their teams and immediately recognized Sheldon’s voice from the prior season. The performance earned Sheldon chair turns from the remaining judges and a spot on Team Delta. Sheldon was eliminated during the semi-finals where he performed ”the show must go on” by British Rock Band Queen.

Despite not winning the show, Sheldon built a loyal base of fans and currently has over 100,000 followers on Instagram. He hoped the exposure would lead to bigger things and expressed his desire to participate in the 64th Eurovision Song Contest. After his appearance on the Voice, Sheldon said, “Eurovision is a main goal. It has always been my thing as a little kid watching. They’re just so weird and so different and so accepted for doing absolutely everything,”  He went on to add “Big things are coming. I can’t talk about them right now, but if you think that my performances have been big, just wait to see what’s in store.”

While he was not selected for EuroVision , he did manage to make it to the world’s biggest stage, America’s Got Talent. Sheldon made his entrance onto the AGT stage by initially ignoring Judge Simon Cowell’s questions and turning his back to the judges. Wearing a beaded mask that concealed his face, Sheldon turned back around and gave a dramatic rendition of “I don’t want to be you anymore” by Billie Eilish. Judges Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara were visibly captivated by the performance. After the performance, Judge Simon Cowell said “ I love the fact that I don’t know what you really look like. I like mysterious people.” Judge Howie Mandel told Sheldon “You have an amazing voice,” “And the fact that I don’t know what you look like, and the costume and the drama, for me, that’s what made this great.” All three judges voted yes to send Sheldon to the Judge Cuts round.
Sheldon did not appear on the Judges cuts episode but announced on Instagram that he had advanced to the live shows.

Growing up, Sheldon had always struggled with his identity He came out as gay when he was 15 years old and said he went through a really rough time finding who he was. After his AGT audition, Sheldon told host Terry Crews “I didn’t have much inspiration when I was a kid. I didn’t have someone to look up to. I just want to show to all the little kids out there, if you just want to be authentically yourself, you can be, and you don’t need to be afraid to be that.”

Sheldon now moves on to the live quarterfinals. Do you think Sheldon has what it takes to win America’s Got Talent? Let us know in the comments below.

What America’s Got Talent didn’t tell you about Archie Williams

Archie Williams is a 58-year-old singer who is currently competing on season 15 of America’s Got Talent. Before his audition, Archie revealed to judges that he had spent more than 36 years of his life at a Louisiana State Penitentiary for a crime he didn’t commit.

Archie was born in the summer of 1960 and lived in Baton Rouge Louisiana with his two parents and three sisters. On the morning of December 9th, 1982, a 30-year-old woman was raped and stabbed in her home, in an affluent Baton Rouge neighborhood. Almost a month later, Archie Williams was arrested for the crime as he walked home from his aunt’s house. He would be charged with aggravated rape, attempted murder, and aggravated burglary. Archie’s trial lasted five days where he was found guilty and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, nicknamed Angola because it resides on the land that was occupied by the Angola plantation.

While at Angola, Archie coached an undefeated boxing program, winning numerous Louisiana state titles. He continued with the boxing program until the mid-90’s, when he met someone inside the prison who told him about the Innocence Project, and his focus changed. 12 years into his prison sentence, Archie wrote to Innocence Project Co-Founder pleading for help saying “As the years go by I sit here year after year, it’s like no one cares.” Three months later, the Innocence Project agreed to take Archie’s case, but it would take another 23 years for him to be released.

The Innocence Project immediately identified problems with Archie’s case. Archie was included in a photo lineup shown to the victim, who did not identify him as her attacker, but she told police they should look for a suspect who resembled him. She later identified Archie as her attacker after seeing him in subsequent lineups. The victim, who is 5’ 7”, also testified that her attacker was taller than her. A neighbor who interrupted the crime, also testified that she saw a man taller than her. Archie, who stands 5′ 7′, did not fit the attacker’s description. More importantly, fingerprints left at the crime scene also did not match. The case against Archie Williams rested largely on the victim’s identification of him.

New fingerprint technology allowed investigators to match fingerprints from the scene to another man, Stephen Forbes. Forbes, who suffered from mental illness, had been arrested in 1986 after breaking into a home and attempting to sexually assault a woman less than two miles from Archie Williams was arrested. After his arrest, Forbes confessed to four other rapes between 1985 and 1986. Forbes died in 1996 without ever being questioned about the attack.

In March 2019, a motion was granted to vacate the conviction and his charges were dismissed. Now a free man, Archie Williams was 22 years old when he was arrested. Today he is 58. To add to being falsely imprisoned,  Archie was also placed in solitary confinement from 1997 until his release in 2019. Archie said he believes this was retribution by warden Burl Cain, who resented him leaving the champion boxing program inside Angola.

Archie is relieved to be free but he struggles with leaving behind other innocent people serving time for wrongful convictions. “I’m not free until they’re free,” he said.

Archie recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages for his wrongful conviction. Under Louisiana law, Mr. Williams is entitled to a maximum of $250,000 for his wrongful incarceration, the equivalent of around $7,000 for every year that he was in prison

Despite the challenges ahead of him, Archie remains very optimistic. He recently enrolled in music classes at Laney College in Oakland California. He also appeared on the Steve Harvey show in May of 2019. While on the show, Archie had a chance to tell his story and also received support from Steve Harvey and one of the show’s sponsors.

After being incarcerated for nearly 4 decades of his life, it looks like music will be at the center of this new chapter. Archie recently had the opportunity to perform at the legendary Apollo Theater.

“I was in my first band when I was 12,” explained Williams, “Throughout my incarceration at Angola, I sung. I sung gospel in the church and started my own band. Music helped me get through prison. I always envisioned myself on stage at the Apollo one day.”

This past November he took third place in the theater’s famous weekly Amateur Night competition, performing Stevie Wonder’s “As.” While he didn’t win the competition, Archie said of the experience, “It’s amazing, it’s the most exciting part of my life.”

Now Archie is set to perform on an even bigger stage, appearing on the season 15 premiere of America’s Got Talent.
Before his performance, Archie said “I watched ‘America’s Got Talent’ in prison and I would visualize myself there,”
“I always desired to be on a stage like this, and now I’m here.”

For his audition, Archie performed a moving rendition of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Archie received a standing ovation for the performance and judge Simon Cowell said “I will never ever listen to the song in the same way after you. It took on a whole different meaning for me,” Cowell continued, “This is an audition I would never forget for the whole of my life, Archie.”
All 4 judges voted yes and Archie advanced to the next round. Archie’s next appearance on America’s Got Talent will be during the judge cuts round which will determine which acts will advance to the live shows.

Do you think Archie has what it takes to win America’s Got Talent?
Let us know in the comments below.

Which acts are performing in the Americas’ Got Talent: The Champions semifinal?

Meet the Americas’ Got Talent: The Champions Season 2 semi-finalists.

After four weeks of qualifying rounds, the season 2 America’s Got Talent: The Champions semifinal acts have been chosen.    

Twelve finalists will perform during the America’s Got Talent semifinal for judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Alesha Dixon, and Howie Mandel. Six acts will advance to the finals where they will join the four golden buzzer recipients for a chance to be crowned the winner of America’s got talent: The Champions season 2. 

Superfan Choices

The eight acts below were chosen by a panel of superfans during the qualifying rounds

Dania Diaz


Dania Diaz is an illusionist who was a finalist on ‘Spain’s Got Talent’ in 2018. 

Duo Destiny


Duo Destiny are world-class gymnasts and won ‘Poland’s Got Talent’ in 2018. 

Duo Transcend

Duo Transcend performed a daring trapeze act was the first act to advance to the America’s Got Talent: The Champions semifinals via the superfan votes.

Marc Spelmann

Marc Spellman is a magician who was runner-up in 2018’s season of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, 

Marcelito Pomoy

Marcelito Pomoy is a singer known for his ability to sing in both tenor and soprano. He was the winner of ‘Philippines Got Talent’ in 2011.

Sandou Trio Russian Bar

The acrobatic team made it to the semifinals during ‘America’s Got Talent’ in 2011 and will compete the America’s Got Talent: The Champions semifinal.

Strauss Serpent

Strauss Serpent is a contortionist from Congo who “Africa’s Got Talent” in 2018.

Tyler Butler-Figueroa

Tyler Butler-Figueroa is a 12-year-old violinist who appeared on ‘America’s Got Talent’ season 14. He was the winner of Simon’s Golden Buzzer. After he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of four, he was bullied and then started to play the violin.

Judges Saves

The four acts below were saved by the judges during the qualifying rounds.

Alexa Lauenburger 


11-year-old dog trainer Alexa Lauenburger won Das Supertalent in 2017. 



Hans is a singer, dancer, and accordionist Hans who made it all the way to the season 13 ‘America’s Got Talent’ finale. 

JJ Pantano


JJ Pantano is a 7-year-old comedian who earned a golden buzzer on the 9th season of Australia’s Got Talent

Ryan Niemiller


Ryan Neimiller is a stand-up comedian who finished in 3rd place on season 14 of America’s Got Talent.

Watch the America’s Got Talent semifinal Monday, February 3rd at 8/7c on NBC.