American Idol 2021 Audition: Deshawn Goncalves, his imperfections and all, shows true musicality
At his American Idol 2021 audition, which aired Sunday night (March 14) Deshawn Goncalves impressed the American Idol judges with his vocals and inspiring backstory.
The 19-year-old college student from Cleveland, Ohio is currently attending Jackson State University. Cleveland sure has talent as fellow competitor Mary Jo Young is also from the home of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. A member of the university’s marching band, he plays tuba and sousaphone. “Music has always been my saving grace,” Deshawn shared with the Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
Deshawn’s parents were only young teens when they had him, as a result, life was tough for him. His father tried to be a good dad, but unfortunately street life caught up to him, and he wound up in jail. Deshawn’s grades suffered and he made bad choices. After leaving jail, his dad turned his life around, serving as a good example for his son. The young artist began playing music and earned straight A’s, graduating at the top of his class, and earning him a full ride to college. As a result of his experiences, Deshawn has a very positive outlook on life.
Deshawn performs a song I’m not sure I’ve heard on a singing show before, Nina Simone’s “Everything Must Change.” A quick YouTube search, and I can’t find any versions that have been done in America. The singer has a very nice gospel tone with a little bit of a jazziness to it. I enjoy the imperfections of his voice. He still hits most of the notes and is a bit unpredictable with his approach. His piano playing is incredible. Towards the end, his falsetto does go a bit off the rails, but then he ends the performance nicely. I believe that the imperfections made this audition, as there is something raw and real about Deshawn. It didn’t feel like he was over singing, it just felt natural.
After he finished singing, Deshawn admitted being “a little emotional.” Lionel teared up, remarking, “man, that was powerful,” adding “I needed you today.” Lionel uttered what may have been the most powerful line of the night, whether you are a believer or not. He said, “I don’t know where you came from, but I know God saw fit to put you in front of us today”. This audition truly appeared meant to be. Katy called the performance “magic” and that Deshawn’s singing exuded “purity” and “light.” She compared him to an angel. Luke acknowledged all of the singer’s hard work, noting “what an example” he represents. Deshawn’s humbleness combined with his incredible talent, make this a magical audition and my favorite of the night.
Watch this short clip of Deshawn singing for Patti Labelle HERE. I’m so excited to see Deshawn transform songs to his own style on the show. Watch his transformation of Joe Crocker’s You Are So Beautiful HERE. Deshawn’s Instagram.
American Idol 2021 Audition: Deshawn Goncalves cover Nina Simone’s “Everything Must Change”