Locals Take On Reality Singing Competitions

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll find out how ratings are shaking out with regards to new show debuts. But what’s clear is that reality singing competitions are not going away. The X Factor and The Voice are going strong—if not at their peaks—American Idol (with new judges) is following close behind in the winter, and America’s Got Talent takes over in summer.

With the proliferation of reality singing competitions, it makes sense that we’d see more and more local faces in the audition rooms. But, this season, we’ve had two locals who have made it past the scowling faces of the judges and onto the competition rounds.

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Let’s start with Carly Rose Sonenclar. We know of the 13-year-old Mamaroneck resident from her Broadway career. (My colleague, Laurie Yarnell, interviewed her when she was in Wonderland, and, before that, she was in Les Misérables.) So, of course, we weren’t surprised when she confidently belted out a version of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” on The X Factor. Here’s her clip, complete with intro—they omitted any mention of her Broadway career, I guess to keep the suspense—but if you’re just looking for the song, start at 1:33.   

The reaction from noted crank Simon Cowell? “A star has just walked out on that stage.” Good job, Carly!

Carly Rose Sonenclar

Collin McLoughlin

Next we have Collin McLoughlin, a Bedford native currently on break from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Music Management. He didn’t have a Broadway career, but he was making his own inroads into the music business. His YouTube channel, where he covers songs like David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games,” is pretty popular—his version of Swedish House Mafia’s “Save the World Tonight” has more than a million views.  When he auditioned on The Voice, though, he chose a more well known song to cover: Cat Stevens’s “Wild World.”

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Three of the four judges hit the button that theatrically sent him on to the next round. (What’s up, Christina? You don’t like Bedford? Even Blake Shelton told him, “I’d be really pissed at Christina right now if I were you.”) After working with mentor Mary J. Blige—a Yonkers girl—this week he went head-to-head with contestant Bryan Keith in the ominously named “Battle Round.” The song “Santeria” by Sublime.

Unfortunately, Bryan was chosen as the winner of the Battle Round. (I think the song fit Bryan’s vibe better—bad luck on Collin’s part.) But all is not lost. This season, judges are allowed to “steal” contestants that didn’t win their battles, and this time Shelton snapped up Collin. That makes Collin the first-ever “stolen” contestant, so, no matter what, he’s groundbreaking in some small way. Good luck, Collin! Your hometown is rooting for you. 

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