Shelbie Z – American Idol 2016 – Season 15 Contestant

Shelbie Z American Idol 2016 Season 15 Contestant Pictured: Contestant Shelbie "Z" James auditions in front of the judges at AMERICAN IDOL XV. © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Becker / FOX.

Shelbie Z American Idol 2016 Season 15 Contestant

Shelbie Zora James Panter is a 23-year-old country and southern rock singer and hair dresser from Sumiton, Alabama, who describes herself on Instagram as “just your average #americangirl.” In addition to working as a cosmetologist, Shelbie says she also enjoys acting, modeling and she even in the past served as a pageant consultant. With her run on Idol kicking off, according to Shelbie hopes to bring some of her original music to the show. Regarding her influences and inspirations, Shelbie cites Eric Church, Reba McEntire and Miranda Lambert among others as her musical heroes. Currently, Shelbie is married to Zak Panter.In 2013, Shelbie auditioned for NBC’s The Voice. At her blind audition, she performed, Here For The Party, by Gretchen Wilson and managed to turn three chairs around, in the end settling for Team Blake Shelton. At her battle and knockout rounds, Shelbie emerged victorious and successfully advanced to the live rounds. There, Shelbie performed Fancy, by Reba McEntire, but was ultimately neither in her team’s top 2 or the recipient of her coach’s save, thus ending her run on The Voice.

Over this past summer Shelbie auditioned for American Idol. At her celebrity judges audition, she performed Last Name, by Carrie Underwood and earned her golden ticket to Hollywood. Harry Connick Jr. was very impressed by her and said she was “terrific” and the kind of contestant who came out to compete. According to The Idol Pad, Shelbie survived Hollywood Week and advanced to the showcase round, where she performed Barracuda, by Heart. Giving a strong enough performance, Shelbie was then admitted into the top 24.

Click to see the FULL LIST of American Idol 15 Top 24 Contestants!
American Idol 15 Top 24 Video Sneak Peek

Instruments Shelbie Plays: unknown


Overall Thoughts: I’m a little worried for Shelbie this season for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don’t know what it is, but the spark I saw in her when she was on The Voice just isn’t as strong with her on Idol; however, I’m hoping that it will come back later in her run when she gets to perform for a crowd. Secondly, with so many good singers on this season, I’m worried that Shelbie won’t advance simply because there are other singers people like more than her. Lastly, and I think most importantly, I think this season’s returning contestant Emily Brooke is the chosen country girl. If this is the case, I think the producers will try and eliminate Shelbie early because she will be a threat to Emily controlling that block of voters. This is all hypothetical, and while I may be looking too far into things, I want to say that I do really like Shelbie still. On The Voice I remember rooting for her and loving her Last Name cover, so I know that she is capable of greatness. I just hope she still has a chance to really show the Idol viewers how fantastic of a performer she is.

Song Suggestions:

  1. When You Say Nothing At All, by Alison Krauss
  2. Cowboy Casanova, by Carrie Underwood
  3. Stay, by Sugarland

Shelbie Z sang Last Name at her Denver audition. Click to check out her FULL AUDITION

More American Idol Performances:

Showcase Round – Barracuda by Heart – Click to Watch VIDEO

About Adam Samuel 151 Articles
Contributing Writer/Researcher at I'm a typical college student balancing a journalism major with my love for reality singing shows.