Two Columbus natives are heading to Hollywood after receiving gold tickets to their American Idol auditions.
Tryzdin Grubbs, 16, and Deshawn Goncalves, 20, performed for judges Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan on “American Idol” on March 14 and were given the green light to compete.
Grubbs, a sophomore at Fort Hayes High School of the Arts and the Arts, grew up singing.
When he was 11, a YouTube video of him singing Hello d’Adele garnered him millions of views and sparked the interest of British indie band Saint Mars, who recruited him to work with them on two songs on the ‘intimidation.
They wanted me to do voiceovers and be a star artist. Two songs turned into three and three into a full album. Right now I’m the band’s permanent lead singer, he said, speaking from his home in Columbus.
Meanwhile, Grubbs has been busy auditioning for music shows.
I’ve auditioned for “The Voice” twice, and I’ve auditioned for “America’s Got Talent” three times, but never got to the point where I found myself in front of the judges. After being told not so many times, I slowly gave up on the idea of even auditioning for shows like this.
Then in October 2020, her mother received a call from a casting agent about open auditions for “American Idol”.
I had three days to prepare four songs. I sang them for four and a half hours on a Zoom call in front of the producers, and that night they told me I would fly to San Diego to see the judges.
Once in San Diego there was a lot of waiting.
In the waiting rooms, the chairs were six feet apart and you had to wear masks, but you could talk to other candidates, sing with them, and have jam sessions. I made a lot of great friends. But we were never allowed to enter each other’s rooms or mingle outside of the waiting room. They wanted to make sure we stayed six feet from each other, masked.
Grubbs’ hearing was particularly nerve-racking. Halfway through his song, Before You Go by Lewis Capaldi, the judges arrested him and, after a brief pep talk, asked him to try another. He launched into James Arthur’s Nobody and convinced them.
I wanted to show them that I have a scale, that I can sing softly but that I can also get really cheesy. So ‘Before You Go’ was supposed to start slow, then grow big when you get to the chorus. But they arrested me before I could get to this. So I was happy to have chosen “Nobody”, because it starts slowly, but it quickly goes into a very big chorus.
Deshawn Goncalves, who grew up in Columbus and graduated from East High School and Fort Hayes Career Center in 2019, also auditioned on March 14.
Goncalves is now a sophomore at Jackson State University in Mississippi, majoring in music technology and performance.
I do a lot of singing training, and I’m developing my knowledge of music theory, he said, of Los Angeles, where he was preparing for “Idol’s” Hollywood Week.
Since classes are held virtually in Jackson State this year, he stays with his family in Cleveland while he attends school.
Like Grubbs, he started singing at a very young age.
My grandmother was a choir director and she was very involved in the church. She made sure I was very involved in the church too, and the music was always there.
Goncalves also plays several instruments.
If you can name it, I can probably play it! he said.
On the Jackson State campus, he was part of the marching band, playing the trombone and sousaphone.
But his first love is the piano, which he started playing eight years ago, and which he played as part of his “Idol” audition.
I love that it covers all the dynamics of the music, highs, lows, whatever is in between. It is the mother of all instruments, he says.
“American Idol” has been on its radar for years.
It has been my dream to be there since I was a child. Watching my favorite singers walk through the show, Fantasia, Kelly Clarkson, I feel like I’ve been preparing for it all my life. So, to be here, I am defeated. It feels really good.
Last Sunday he pulled off a smooth audition to universal praise from the judges.
I think that comes from a lot of performances over the years. Learn to calm my nerves, have confidence in myself that I will deliver what I can. I just wanted to be perfect.
For his audition number, he chose Everything Must Change by Bernard Ighner, previously performed by Nina Simone and Quincy Jones, among many others.
You will never surprise me singing something that I don’t feel connected to, he said. I wanted to do something that applies to my life right now. My life is changing before my eyes.
In one look
“American Idol” airs at 8 p.m. Sundays and Mondays on WSYX-TV (Channel 6). Deshawn Goncalves will perform on Monday night; it is not known when Tryzdin Grubbs will play next.
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