Twenty-three year old Merissa Beddows is an opera singer studying music at the Curtis Institute of Music, a conservatory located in Philadelphia, PA. But she did not audition for America’s Got Talent season 17 to show off her operatic skills.
The young singer is also a talented musical impressionist. A stagehand handed judge Heidi Klum a cube to facilitate a musical game. It involved Merissa singing a song in her natural voice, before Heidi holds up a side of the cube that contains the name of a singer whom Merissa loves to impersonate.
The song is the classic “Over the Rainbow.” Merissa’s voice is a lovely mezzo soprano with a rich tone. But she slips into different sounding voices easily. Ariana Grande is first. Merissa skillfully reproduces her signature runs. The impression prompts Simon Cowell to laugh out loud.
There’s no way to confirm what “My Grandma” actually sounds like, but it’s a humorous impersonation of an older person. She also nails Stevie Nicks’ unmistakable rasp, Celine Dion’s round tone, the warbly high soprano of the classic Disney princess, Snow White, And she recreates a perfect Siri voice, with that uh-oh-something’s-gone-wrong staccato noise. How did she do that?
Unsurprisingly, Merissa has over 762K followers on Tik Tok, where she entertains folks with her uncanny vocal impersonations.
Merissa has started a GofundMe for her mother, who battles serious illnesses
Merissa has a backstory that may or may not be addressed on the show. Her father died years ago, and she’s the sole caretaker of her mother since age 11. Mom has suffered “a series of medical emergencies” according to the GoFundMe fundraiser Merissa started for her. The singer’s goal is to raise $25,000 to help pay for a long-term facility where her mother can receive round the clock care. So far, Merissa has raised 4K. National TV exposure should help the singer reach her goal.
To find out what Heidi, Simon, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel have to say about Merissa’s vocal impressions, tune into America’s Got Talent fifth audition episode on NBC, Tuesday June 28 at 8 pm ET/PT.