American Idol 2023: The Voice alum Wé Ani Continues to Surprise

WÉ ANI American Idol 2023
(ABC/Eric McCandless) WÉ ANI

American Idol 2023: The Voice alum Wé Ani’s singing and speaking voices continue to suprise

American Idol season 21 week 3 auditions was a night of diverse talent with several of the competitors wowing the judging panel of Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie. Some of these competitors were familiar faces from fellow TV music competitions. (Read our Recap)

Wé McDonald who now goes by Wé Ani finished in 3rd place on The Voice season 11. Her 4-chair audition of “Feeling Good” was super memorable, landing her a spot on Team Alicia Keys where she continued to impress all season long, before losing to runner up Billy Gilman and winner Sundance Head. She is now 23 and showed her growth on Sunday night.

A full circle moment

This audition was a bit of a full circle moment. During Wé’s blind audition for The Voice, the coaches were surprised by her speaking voice after blind auditioning. But on Idol, the judges hear her speaking voice before she sings. The judges are just as shocked here, with Luke even asking, “do you do voiceovers for anything,” and she responded, “no, but I wish I did.”

Before the singer went on to perform a rendition of Demi Lovato’s “Anyone,” the judges wondered what her voice would sound like. Katy said, “if it’s a baritone, I’m out!” Wé’s voice is even more nuanced than it was before. Her deep and soulful tone is as versatile as it is emotional and poignant. Her control is incredible, and every note in this audition was meaningful as she belted without over singing. This was possibly the best vocal of the season so far.

The judges were in awe. Lionel said, “you are amazing and this class is shaping up to be ridiculous,” noting that she is a member of the “ridiculous” category. Katy asked what Ani means. Wé explained that her name means “diligent in Swahili.”

“You feel diligent,” Katy responded. “You feel like you’re pushing through any obstacle”. Luke called her voice “amazing,” adding that her speaking voice sounds like “Frenchy in Grease.” She soars through to Hollywood with 3 yeses.

Another The Voice alum was also a standout

Also auditioning, was a fellow The Voice contestant, Marybeth Byrd, a country singer from Armorel, Arkansas, who competed on Season 17. She placed in the Top 8 as a part of Team John Legend (Blind Audition) and is now a country radio DJ. She sang “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” by The Steeldrivers with what she called a “pop flair”. Her rendition also showed that she has matured since America last saw her. Her rendition displayed a little rasp and showed she is a threat as a gifted country singer. She could go far.

The best of night including Wé and Marybeth were Olivia Soli who covered Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and car accident survivor Elijah McCormick who wowed with a Rascal Flatts cover. Others who showed potential were musical theater graduate Emma Busse who had a tone that intrigued and Adin Boyer whose musical prowess as well as story about being autistic were impactful and deserved to be heard. Sara Beth also showcased some good vocal moments with her pure tone.

About Blake Busch 242 Articles
I am a graduate of Drake University with a BSBA in marketing and minor in data analytics. My favorite shows to follow are American Idol and The Voice. I also love crime thrillers, Top Chef, and Masterchef. My hobbies include cooking, baking, playing basketball, and watching sports.