Did ‘American Idol’ Just Find the Next Kelly Clarkson?

We all know America has enough singers to keep us entertained for several lifetimes, but it doesn’t stop them all from auditioning on American Idol. Even if more than half of them all seem to cancel one another out from sounding similar, you still find the occasional standout.

However, the potentially great singers are still often linked with the past icons. A 19-year-old girl from Vietnam was shown auditioning for the March 3 Idol show. Her name was Myra Tran, and she said her own influences were Whitney Houston.

The judges quickly compared her to a new Kelly Clarkson. Is such a comparison fair, or will every singer on Idol be compared to someone else?

The problem with big-voiced singers


It’s hard to carve out a unique identity as a singer since we’ve all heard every singing technique and seen the greatest of vocal ranges. Whenever we see someone with a big voice, we automatically start equating them with Whitney Houston first, then either Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, or Kelly Clarkson.

Critics often outline an overly basic comparison rather than thinking about more subtle aspects like vocal styling and timbre.

All of those things can differ in an individual singer, which makes each artist stand out on their own. With the proper development, it’s no surprise why Clarkson has agreed to become a judge and coach on The Voice instead.

We have to wonder whether Myra Tran would receive the same artistic coaching.

Tran is almost the same age Clarkson was when winning American Idol’

Being 19 or 20 years old is usually the prime age to win Idol, no doubt because 20 was the same age Clarkson was when she won during the first season in 2002. This more or less set a precedent for the average age of singers on the show, even if we’ve seen even younger talents in past seasons.

One major difference now is the opportunities of other competition shows available around the world. More recently, we’ve been seeing more contestants on American competition shows having a previous win from an international counterpart. America’s Got Talent is a good example where near half of every contestant has competed on an overseas version of AGT, or Simon Cowell’s The X-Factor.

Reportedly, Tran won the Vietnamese version of X-Factor in 2016, giving her the benefit of experience compared to other singers with limited TV exposure.

Does previous TV experience help you win ‘Idol’?

An argument like this can be quickly countered with the recall of Clarkson having no TV experience prior to her American Idol win. Times are different now, though, where you can gain valuable experience performing to a national TV audience and using the camera to your advantage. Plus, it helps conquer nerves, something many past singers battled in past Idol seasons.

When you easily rip through a song made famous by Jennifer Hudson (as Tran did in her audition), you’ve already gained the confidence of the judges and the viewing public.

All bets now go on her at least being in the Top Three, if not the new Idol winner. Chances are usually smaller someone of similar caliber will come along in the other audition shows, but we know the talent pool is still large.

How many other potential Kelly Clarksons are out there?

Auditions on Idol always teach us how many singers exist and how some of them just want to be inane novelty acts. Those more focused on truly wanting to win make up the other half, yet more of them are international transplants.

Perhaps it’s an argument of American talent not being nurtured enough due to arts budget cuts. In other countries, working hard is maybe a stronger discipline, making the possibility of more Myra Trans being out there and moving to America to find superstardom.