American Idol returns to ABC on Sunday, Feb. 27. Here’s more about Mike.
* He’s one of at least four former Voice contestants to audition for Season 20. He earned a spot on Team Jennifer Hudson in Season 15 (fall 2018) thanks to her last-second chair turn for his cover of “So Sick” by NE-YO.
* Even better received was his battle round performance of John Mayer’s “Gravity” with teammate Natasha Greycloud. But Mike was eliminated in the knockout round when he went up against eventual semifinalist McKenzie Thomas.
* From Gainesville, Va., Mike was 23 when he auditioned for Season 15 and told the show his focus was on football, not music, as he was growing up.
* In fact, as a wide receiver and defensive back, Mike helped Kettle Run High School to the state semifinals as a junior and was heavily recruited by top college programs. But he admitted he lost his chance at college scholarships because his grades were “crap” and he didn’t want to pay attention in class.
* He shifted his focus to music, a natural transition since his parents were in a band in the 1980s and since he started singing in church at age 9 and participated in his high school talent show every year.
* He actually made The Voice on his third try. He made it in front of the celebrity judges in Season 7, but failed to turn a chair.
* Mike released one single, 2017’s “Raise a Glass,” prior to appearing on The Voice. He’s since moved from Virginia to L.A. and released four more — “Put Me in the Game” in 2019, “Battle” in 2020 and “The Real Me” and “Still Stingy” in 2021. He’s been working on an EP, but it hasn’t landed yet.
* DJ Chopp-A-Lot produced “Still Stingy” and Mike says of the song: “This R&B vibe may take you back if you know, or take you there if you dont … This is our first release as a collab and i couldn’t be more excited.” You can check it out below.
* Mike announced his Idol audition last month, writing: “God has blessed me with the opportunity to compete on a stage I used to have REAL dreams of being on.”
Keep checking back …
I’ll be posting profiles of about 50 top contestants who auditioned for American Idol Season 20. Profiles of the singers listed below will be coming soon. More names might be added. The links take you to the profiles already published.
Kezia Istonia (a.k.a. Lady K.)