Why on Earth are Superstars Like Jewel, Michael Bolton Competing on ‘American Song Contest’?

Corey Cesare
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Jewel, Michael Bolton American Song ContestDavid Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Maury Phillips/WireImage

Familiar names on the American Song Contest list have raised questions about fairness in relation to the new shows format. The new series seeks to find America’s next hit song, so how does it make sense for Grammy Award winning singers to compete? It appears that Jewel, Macy Gray, Sisqó and Michael Bolton will be representing their home states on American Song Contest despite the fact that they are all have very well established careers.


Grammy Award Winners Are Competing on American Song Contest

It’s now clear that American Song Contest has no rules in relation to singers that can audition for the series. Instead of featuring mostly amateurs like other competition shows, a few notable celebrities are in the mix. The celebrities that stand out in that category are Ohio’s Gray, Connecticut’s Bolton, Alaska’s Jewel, and Maryland’s Sisqó.

Of the four popular singers, two of them have won Grammy Awards in the past. Gray won one Grammy Award in 2000, while Bolton won two Grammy Awards in 1989 and 1994. Jewel and Sisqó have both received nominations for this honor as well. Jewel is known for her 1996 hit “You Were Meant For Me,” while Sisqó is known for his 2000 hit “Thong Song.”

These singers have released music, gone on tour, and walked countless red carpet in their careers. I think it goes without saying that these four contestants have accomplished more in their career than the average talent show contestant. American Song Contest differs from other series in the fact that they’re acknowledging the success of these singers. When going through the interactive artist map there are biographies for each of the singers. For these select singers, they note their accomplishments and touch upon their success. Regardless, we don’t know if the producers invited these singers to audition or if they applied.


Why Are Established Artists Part of This Competition?

This is not the first time we’ve seen big names audition for a competition series. Instead they’re probably the biggest names overall. This phenomenon has been seen on The Voice, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, and many others. Most recent, we’ve seen the established comedian, Michael Winslow on America’s Got Talent. Before the talent show, he had already been an actor and voiceover artist. Winslow’s involvement on the show made people question whether it was fair for the other contestants or not.

People who are trying to break into the music industry might not stand a chance against these contestants. Jewel, Bolton, Gray, and Sisqó, all seem like singers that don’t need this show given their success. While working with Atlantic Records could be enticing to some artists, I’m not sure why these artists are seeking that.

Established singers have an edge up when it comes time for voting given their pre-established fanbase. Even though it can be frustrating to see familiar faces, It’s important to remember that there is always a reason why they haven’t hit their potential. They might be at the point in their career where they need another celebrity or talent scout to guide them into the next step of their career


I think the thing going for this competition is the fact that most of the artists are accomplished in someway. It’s important to note that it seems like these experienced singers aren’t competing against complete amateurs. While some may have more experience like The Voice winner Jordan Smith or R5’s Riker Lynch, all contestants have something under their belt. At the end of the day, talent shows are about creating a buzz, we already know that including artists like Michael Bolton on American Song Contest will provide the buzz necessary for success.

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