Only 15 years old, breaking the bro-country and diversity barriers of country music, Tristan McIntosh is one American Idol fans will never forget. Not her first roller coaster with talent competitions, having previously performed on America’s Got Talent and The X Factor, Tristan knew the final season of American Idol was her time to shine. Tristan started off her journey singing Mickey Guyton’s new hit “Why Baby Why” followed by an emotional reunion with her military mother who had recently returned from overseas to see her daughter perform. Coming out of her first audition with a golden ticket and Jennifer Lopez declaring that Tristan reminded her of the powerful Alicia Keys, she was off to Hollywood.
Nervous in Hollywood, Tristan sang Carrie Underwood’s song “Something In the Water.” Though her stage presence was "lacking", her talent still impressed the judges and she was off to the next round. In the group round Tristan began to stand out above the rest. Keith Urban even called her out specifically and told her she sings beautifully and “really shined” during the performance. With the high praise received there was no doubt that the judges were moving Tristan on to the next round.
Hollywood solo round was yet another beautiful dedication to Tristan’s mom. Singing a cover of The Rascal Flatts’ song “What Hurts the Most” the judges and her mother, crying in the front row, were touched by her performance. Later claiming “it’s a girl’s season” before telling Tristan she was off to the next round.
With one last performance to go before the judges decided the top 24 Tristan knew it was time to perform and she sure did later declaring “I actually performed for the first time in my life.” Choosing the more upbeat song “Stronger” by Faith Hill Tristan showed a new side of herself to the judges, something that pleased them enough to let her advance to the top 24.
With each performance Tristan seemed to keep improving, but she wavered a bit in her debut appearance as a Top 24 contestant. For her solo performance, Tristan showed off yet another side of herself with a bit of rocker girl edge singing “Good Girl,” another Carrie Underwood song. Jennifer Lopez said Tristan might have been thinking a bit too much in the beginning, but by the end she was feeling it and she should concentrate on that. Harry Connick Jr. was happy to hear Tristan do something different, but he thought it was just an ‘okay’ performance. Keith Urban didn’t like the song choice, but thought she killed everything else.
Then came the duet with American Idol contestant and Women of Country superstar Kellie Pickler. Singing Kellie’s hit “Best Days of Our Lives” it was a “pretty darn good” performance according to judge Harry.
Yet again singing “What Hurts the Most” in her top 14 performance, a song that fits her music style perfectly, Tristan was quickly declared “better than ever!” by the judges. With that Tristan was on her way to the top 10. Though not a member of the top four saved by the judges, Tristan McIntosh didn't have to wait long to learn her fate. The Nashville singer's name was the first to be called into the show's Top 10 singers on Thursday after the first public vote of the season. But that happened in the first five minutes of a two-hour show. From there, it was right back to work. Her string of country covers continued with her take on Dan and Shay's "Nothin' Like You." The song the judges agreed wasn't the best choice for her, but that didn’t stop Guest judge and performer Kelly Clarkson from saying she was among the millions who were blown away by McIntosh's emotional audition video, when she played piano and sang Mickey Guyton's "Why Baby Why."
Often told by the judges her age is an issue as she is less experience and still learning unlike some of the other contestants, Tristan in all confidence has stated “I want to show the judges and the rest of America that I’m not too young to win this thing,” and we want to see that too. So make sure to tune into American Idol which returns March 3 at 7 pm on Fox and vote for Tristan McIntosh!