• Emma Garrie

American Song Contest: Semi-final 1 preview



After five qualifying heats, the inaugural American Song Contest has reached the semi-final stage with semi-final 1 to be held on Monday 25 April (Tuesday 26 April in Australia).


After beginning with 56 songs, we are now down to the Final 22!


The jury winner of each heat automatically progressed along with the next three songs in each heat with the highest score based on a 50/50 jury and public split. This leaves us with 20 songs along with the two songs chosen as redemption picks.


Here is our preview of the 11 songs competing in this week's semi-final 1:


Ni/Co - 'The Difference' (Alabama)



The pop duo Ni/Co, from Montgomery, Alabama, are made up of Colton Jones and his partner Dani Brillhart.

They have almost 270,000 YouTube subscribers where they perform covers of popular songs and their videos consistently get over 1 million views. They qualified based on a 50/50 jury and public split which saw them finish in the top 4 in Heat 3.



Riker Lynch - 'Feel the Love' (Colorado)



30-year-old singer and actor who has appeared on 'Glee' and 'Dancing with the Stars' and was a member of the pop rock band R5. Qualified based on a 50/50 jury and public split which saw him finish in the top 4 in Heat 3.



Jordan Smith - 'Sparrow' (Kentucky)



Jordan, 28, won Season 9 of 'The Voice', becoming the highest selling 'The Voice' artist ever to compete on the American version of the show. Qualified after receiving the highest number of votes from the jury in Heat 2.



Jared Lee - Shameless' (Massachusetts)



The Boston-born singer has written written for Jason Derulo, Jordin Sparks and Michael Bolton. He recently worked with Nicky Romero releasing 'Afterglow' earlier this year. Qualified based on a 50/50 jury and public split which saw him finish in the top 4 in Heat 4.



Ada LeAnn - 'Natalie' (Michigan)



At just 17-years-old Ada has released two EP's and multiple covers. Inspired by Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, she has a very current sound and records out of Nashville, Tennessee. Qualified after receiving the highest number of votes from the jury in Heat 5.



Jonah Prill - 'Fire It Up' (Montana)



From Billings in Montana, Jonah has gained a huge following of millions on TikTok showing his country "cowboy" lifestyle and his journey to become a country musician. His grandfather is country singer Dean Evans and he is inspired by Garth Brooks. Qualified based on a 50/50 jury and public split which saw him finish in the top 4 in Heat 2.



MARi - 'Fly' (New Hampshire)



From Milford, New Hampshire, MARi is of Cuban/Puerto Rican heritage. She has appeared on the Spanish version of 'The Voice' and is also in the fashion industry. Her designs have featured in both New York & London Fashion Week. Her music is a mix of Christian dance, pop and soul. Qualified based on a 50/50 jury and public split which saw her finish in the top 4 in Heat 4.



AleXa - 'Wonderland' (Oklahoma)



Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma to a South Korean mother and Russian-American father. She moved to South Korea at age 21 and has developed a successful K-Pop career. She has released nine singles and two EP's which have had millions of views and streams. Qualified based on a 50/50 jury and public split which saw her finish in the top 4 in Heat 1.



Hueston - 'Held On Too Long' (Rhode Island)



Originally from Rhode Island but now based in Florida, Cory Hueston, 29, known professionally as Hueston, is the former frontman of the indie/alternative-duo The Blancos. Qualified after receiving the highest number of votes from the jury in Heat 1.



Allen Stone - 'A Bit of Both' (Washington)



R&B/soul singer, 35, who has released four albums, written with Andy Grammer and featured with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on an album track. Qualified after receiving the highest number of votes from the jury in Heat 4.



Ryan Charles - 'New Boot Goofin' (Wyoming)



Originally from Buffalo, Wyoming, Ryan brings a cowboy rap to the American Song Contest. He now lives in Nashville and released two singles of his unique style, 'Gettin' Western' and 'Old Dirty Fancy'. Qualified after being revealed as the first "redemption" act or "wildcard". Two places have been reserved in the semi-finals for acts that had previously failed to make it out of their qualifying show but have been added based on the amount of streams and engagement since.



Semi-final 2 announcements


The remaining seven songs from the qualifying rounds will compete in semi-final 2 on Monday 2 May (Tuesday 3 May in Australia), along with the with the final "redemption song" and the next three songs from Heat 5 with the highest score based on a 50/50 jury and public split. These will all be announced during this week's show.


Based on the 'Eurovision Song Contest', the American Song Contest began with 56 songs representing all 50 states, along with five U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. The Grand Final will take place just one day before the 'Eurovision Song Contest' begins in Turin, Italy on 10 May.


American Song Contest semi-final 1 starts at 8:00 pm Eastern Time in the United States, which is 10:00am AEST here in Australia.