Talent Recap

Meet Zachariah Smith, The Grill-Cook-Turned-Musician on ‘American Idol’

Zachariah Smith on 'American Idol'ABC/Eric McCandless

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In hopes of leaving the comfort of his hometown and pursuing his passion in music, Zachariah Smith took the risk of joining American Idol 2023. Incredibly, he is now part of the Top 12. Let’s get to know him more.


Zachariah Smith Wanted to Compete on American Idol Since 15

Hailing from Mississippi, Zachariah was working as a full-time grill cook at Bill’s Hamburgers. He grew up singing and learning the guitar, with aspirations of becoming a singing superstar. Yet, while his desire was strong, he didn’t immediately chase a music career.

When he was 15 years old, Zachariah considered applying for American Idol. However, at the time, he didn’t feel confident with his vocals. Approximately four years later, he decided to “burn the apron” and finally take the risk of joining the said competition.

During his audition, he sang John Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good” and left all three judges in awe. Subsequently, survived both Hollywood and Hawaii, proving his potential to American Idol fans.


“When you can breathe life into a song, that’s a quality that not many people have,” he said. “So, to look at them, watch them, and see what they do, I try to put that into my own style and say, “Ok, how can I do that, but in Zachariah Smith’s way?”

Talking about his musical inspirations, this father of three most especially loves Michael Jackson, Freddy Mercury, and Queen. He is also a Bruno Mars’ fan, with “Smokin Out The Window” being one of his favorite songs.

He Advances to The Top 12 of the Series

With fans seeing him fit for another week in the show, Zachariah luckily advanced to the Top 12 of the competition. After hearing this great news, he quickly stepped on stage to belt out Toto’s “Hold the Line.”


In his usually energetic aura, he fired up the stage with passionate dance moves. Definitely, he has made the classic rock single his own, successfully incorporating his distinct musicality to it. When asked about his plans after the Top 12 announcement, the singer mentioned one strategy.

“You’re going to see good old Zachariah Smith being himself, that’s what you’re going to see,” he said.

To see whether Zachariah will continue to have a spot in the series, be sure to tune in on American Idol, airing every Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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