American Idol: Heather Russell Auditions with Katy’s “Harleys in Hawaii” and delivers all the vocal frills.
“It’s either a blessing or a trap” said judge Katy Perry right when Heather Russell (20) from Toronto, Canada said she’d be performing a Katy cover for her American Idol audition on Sunday night’s (March 7) episode. And then right before the song, Katy joked, “Don’t sing it better than me.” But arguably, Heather did some things with the song I don’t think Katy is capable of. She breathed new life into the tune and made it completely her own.
However, Heather’s insane vocals featuring Tori Kelly-esque runs, floaty Ariana Grande breathiness, and her own jazzy inflections, may have been a bit much. In particular the slurry of runs at the end of the performance may have been way too much. Heather’s vocal style is very “in” at the moment, however. The version of the song is something I could see Tones and I or BENEE do; it was very fresh. She hit a few huge notes that displayed her massive potential. Maybe she will be a singer that finally hits her stride in Hollywood? She has all the tools, but her voice might be a bit of an acquired taste. I know one thing. I dig it.
Katy seemed a bit intimidated by Heather’s vocal prowess, as she harshly stated that the hopeful’s version of the song felt “dead inside.” Also, Katy insists that the judges aren’t here to tell the singer what she wants to hear. But then Katy went on to contradict herself and say that Heather might be the next American Idol. Funny enough, Heather gets her 3 yeses as she deserved.
Heather is no newbie. The singer released a video at nine years of age that went viral, impressing many people. She had the attention of several major industry chiefs, including former American Idol judge Simon Cowell. At 10, she was signed to the X Factor and Got Talent’s SYCO label, which was short-lived. To further her Idol connections, she co-wrote the song “Super Glue” with her father, which appeared on Season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez’s debut EP. A very gifted songwriter and vocalist, Heather sings in several musical genres.
American Idol Audition: Heather Russell Covers Katy Perry’s Harley’s in Hawaii
Fun fact: Katy wrote the song in Hawaii while filming the Idol showcase.