American Idol XIII Top 31 Contestant #20

I’ll be posting several American Idol Top 31 contestants previews every day in the run up to the American Idol XIII premiere on January 15.

Click for the FULL list of the American Idol XIII Top 31

Sixteen year old Kenzie Hall auditioned in Salt Lake City with “I’m Gonna Find Another You” by John Mayer.  In a FOX screener for reporters, Jennifer Lopez told the singer,  ”You have everything going on.”  Harry Connick, Jr. was impressed with her musicality, noting that she played a diminished chord on her acoustic guitar.  She got 3 yeses.

The young singer/songwriter gigs quite a bit around the Salt Lake City area and she recently released an EP which you can download at iTunes. Check out her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Her YouTube channel has covers by John Mayer, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and more.

Here’s Kenzie performing “I’m Gonna Find Another You,” the song she auditioned with on Idol. Her vocal has a bluesy edge.

Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars

Kenzie Hall – American Idol XIII – Salt Lake City Audition

Kenzie Hall – American Idol XIII – Road to Hollywood

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  • Incipit

    Points for a song that has not been used to audition before, a confident singer with an interesting, bluesy voice – nice range and tone, stage presence, this one has my attention – the only one, so far. Had to scroll back up and get her name.

  • iani

    Cute left-handed WGWG, she sings pretty well I think(from those bedroom-videos).

  • Blirel

    she has got the looks and her voice has potential but isn’t great but she could go far i really cannot predict the future for her

  • No Thanks

    Are they all teenagers?

  • helo23

    Mostly yes. According to the spoilers, a lot of them are fairly young. I think the oldest contestant is 25.
    Five out of the fifteen girls are in their 20s.
    There are about seven guys who are not teens. Not sure.

  • helo23

    I like her. I think she has potential to be a dark horse, if she does well enough in the semis.

  • Sassycatz

    I was just wondering that myself. I really dislike when they’re all so young. There’s no “older” ones there to ground the group and give us a little bit of variety in terms of musical knowledge. It’s not a certainty, but older contestants do tend to have more of a breath of experience and knowledge.

  • Francisco Rapalo

    My fav

  • ptebwwong

    While I understand what you are saying, many of the successful Idol alums were young when they were on the show. Kelly C., Fantasia, Jordin, Scotty, etc. were all under 20 yrs. old during the show. Also, many other successes like Carrie, Clay, Phillip, J-Hud, etc. were all under 25 yrs. old. Actually, you won’t find that many finalists in all 12 seasons who were over 25 yrs. old. There are some contestants who know who they are as artists at a young age. In other words, “if you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”

    The thing is you have to consider that these contestants are trying to get into the music industry. Artists are getting younger in the “real world.” Idol is a tv show. It might be better to have “experienced” contestants for the show. But in terms of “success” post-show, it’s better to be younger.

  • mjsbigblog

    Yes. Lots of WGWG, but they are all young. No late 20 thirtyish types that I’ve come across yet.

  • Sassycatz

    I understand. I’m talking more in terms of the show’s entertainment factor — not about the winners so much. Variety in everything is much more preferable. Younger contestants *tend* to be led around more easily and *tend* to be less informed about their own identities and various musical genres. It’s good to have a few elder 20’s in the mix as well.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Personally I have nothing against 16 year-olds on these shows (It’s important to start young!), but I don’t have too much confidence in 16-year old singer-songwriters. I assume this girl sees herself as an artist that writes and performs her own songs.

    I don’t like to see singer-songwriters on these shows because the shows don’t present/test their songwriting skills (re-arranging a song tells us very little about songwriting skills). And this year it looks like there are many REALLY YOUNG singer-songwriters on the show and I do have to wonder how many of them are capable of writing or co-writing of decent songs (which isn’t really good enough to make it in the biz, you need to be able to write really good songs) at this point in time?

    I just think these kids should be developing their songwriting craft right now, not auditioning for a karaoke TV show.

  • CanadianLady

    I like her.

  • Quaribea

    She’s my favorite so far. Has a nice tone and musical instincts. I like it.

  • Sicola789

    The new producer from Sweden might have something to do with that. Just look at the ages of the finalists from his most recent season on that show. The oldest was 20.

  • ptebwwong

    Yes, I would like some variety of contestants, too. I was curious & researched the finalists for all 12 seasons to see how many finalists were over 25 yrs. old. Here’s what I found:

    S1 (top 10): 0
    S2 (top 12): 1
    S3 (top 12): 2
    S4 (top 12): 5
    S5 (top 12): 5
    S6 (top 12): 6
    S7 (top 12): 1
    S8 (top 13): 3
    S9 (top 12): 2
    S10 (top 13): 2
    S11 (top 12): 3
    S12 (top 10): 0

    The spoilers don’t have any contestant over 25. That means this year is the 2nd year in a row & 3rd overall, the season is guaranteed with no finalists over the age of 25.

  • Incipit

    But in terms of “success” post-show, it’s better to be younger.

    Who’s success, the Label$? They are the ones raking in the money from a success story.

    More of that ‘get ’em young and train ’em right’ mindset, before inconvenient things like an education or some life experience get in the way? Only this time it’s Record Labels looking for kids who can be told what to do, instead of pimps or older prospective Fundamentalist husbands. Not a lot of difference, otherwise.

    JMO. Of Course.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Actually, the winner of the most recent season is 24-year old soccer player Kevin Walker.

  • Amy Beth

    At least, if they’re all young, they can’t ooh and ash over how special that is.

    “OMG, she’s only 16!!”

  • jdanton2

    interesting that the season we had the oldest finalists season 6 gave us the youngest winner in Jordin Sparks.

  • ptebwwong

    Obviously, labels profit from a success story. But I’m talking about the individual artist. Outside of Idol in the music industry, how many new solo artists had their first hit singles or chart successes recently after 25 yrs old? I think you’ll find not many. Even the majority of new solo artists who aren’t A-listers or superstars all started young. That’s why I’m saying that it would make sense if a talent show is looking for more younger contestants if that’s what the industry wants.

  • Sicola789

    I meant his(Per Blankens) most recent season. I thought he wasn’t doing Swedish Idol anymore because of American Idol?

  • Sicola789

    There have been a lot of talented teenagers/high schoolers over the years- Diana, Paris, Jordin, David, Allison, Scotty, Lauren, Jessica, etc. I think if you are ready, then you are ready. Season 12’s cast was all over 18, and it was a boring season.

  • Quaribea

    But the Idol machine grinds out the malleable ones, and the label ends up with young but strong willed winners.

  • No Thanks

    I’m not necessarily judging them based on their age. There are probably some who know exactly who they are as artists and been developed their craft since they could vocalize. I mean Fantasia knew how to interpret a lyric at 19 (but then again, she had a hella rough life she could draw from).

    I still worry there will be too many with limited performance experience, life experience and limited musical knowledge.

  • Incipit

    “if they’re all young, they can’t …..OMG, she’s only 16!!”

    Hahaha! Now that’s a silver lining, Amy Beth! And here I was thinking – There goes one of the best Idol Drinking Games!

    It’s OK though, the contestants are mostly not even old enough to drink. *snerk*

  • Amy Beth

    Another issue with such young singers is that a portion of the viewers get all bent out of shape about them singing about certain topics.

    Like sex or “real” love or drinking or…

    It can be somewhat limiting.

  • mitchellvii

    That Billy Goat vibrato gets on my nerves.

  • Sicola789

    Wasn’t Kelly only 19 when she first auditioned?

  • springboard2

    I fully agree that these shows don’t test songwriting skills, and since it seems that a large part of the audience is looking for real artists, we end up with any hint of creativity being hailed as talent.

    This is a big problem for these shows, in my opinion, because the majority of current successful singers are songwriters. And since songwriting, as well as sexiness are cut out, we end up with contestants that are at odds with the current music scene.

  • Karen C

    I disagree that rewriting songs doesn’t tell someone something about songwriting skills, because those that have done the most rearranging not only have been songwriters, but their arrangements all fit in well with their original music.

    I do agree that most really young songwriters probably aren’t developed enough.

  • Karen C

    I think there’s a big difference though between the amount of experience a 16 year old has and even a 23 or 24 year old, or even a 19 year old. Even a few more years of professional experience is helpful.

  • Sicola789

    I did some digging. She is a Mormon girl, and being a Mormon from Utah could really make her a threat. They love to support their home state contestants. Also, she has a music blog made by her mom:

  • No Thanks


  • ptebwwong

    I agree with you that there usually is a difference between a 16 yr old & a contestant in their early 20’s. Here’s the thing: On Idol especially recently, there’s usually only 2 types of under 20 contestants. The contestants that are not ready & need more experience & the one’s that are too experienced (think Jessica) & some people consider “boring.” There’s no in-between which is the problem. Their needs to be young contestants who are somewhat experienced, talented, but also takes risks during the show.

  • Brian Rothbart

    This is your winner. However Briston Maroney could win because of the young girl vote.

  • Incipit

    “…because of the young girl vote.”

    Has someone managed to establish that there ‘is’ a “young girl vote” that supersedes the regular Idol demographic, and that they vote as a monolith?

    The last time I saw people counting on that was 2008 – and it didn’t work then – with a lot more voters. But I’m willing to look at the stats. ??