American Idol: Why The Show Needs Tristen Gressett


American Idol season 20’s Tristen Gressett is a rock star who lights up the stage with his electrifying performances. Here’s why the show needs him.

When Tristen Gressett from American Idol season 20 entered the audition room for the first time, audiences knew that he was something special, and it’s time to explain why he’s so important to the show. With his long hair, jewelry, and cowboy hat, Tristen had the look of a superstar. He told the judges, “I’m ready to rock your world.” 

He then played guitar and harmonica as he performed his energetic rendition of Billy Joel’s, “Piano Man.” The judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan applauded him, and Luke asked him what he was attempting to do. Tristen answered, “I want to change the world of music. I want to bring back something that should have never left: soul.”


Related: American Idol: How Lionel, Katy & Luke Messed Up The Top 14 Judges Save

The American Idol judges then told him that he was overusing all of his talents, and asked him to tone it down. Katy said that he had “too much sauce.” Lionel told him that they wanted to take him “from a gimmick to an artist.” Tristen asked them if they would like him to “dial it down,” and he then delivered an impressive version of “Colors” by Black Pumas. The judges marveled at his talent, and told him that if he could handle some coaching, he could be a true star. He earned a yes from every judge, and they sent him to Hollywood. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Tristen is the fact that he is only 17, and a high school student from Pell City, Alabama.

Tristen Is A Talented Contestant

As Tristen worked his way through Hollywood Week on American Idol, he proved that he was able to take direction from the judges. He performed a heartfelt version of James Brown’s “Try Me,” and the judges were thrilled to see that he took their notes. Tristen made it to the duets round, during which he was paired with Cameron Whitcomb, another talented and energetic contestant known for his backflips. They called themselves, “Both Crazy.” See his perform in the clip below:

Tristen proved that he was a true artist by helping Cameron to learn the harmonies in the song. He was a patient teacher and worked hard to make their performance of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” one of the best in the round. Tristen advanced to the Showstopper round, and sang a rousing rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” making it into the Top 24.

Tristen Energizes The Audience

In American Idol season 20, viewers have seen some of the most talented singers that the series has ever showcased. However, many of the contestants have chosen to highlight their vocal ability via ballads. These performances have been very impressive from a musical standpoint, but when there are 20 in one night, they can begin to feel repetitive and boring. However, when Tristen takes the stage, he wakes up the audience, bursting with energy and oozing with talent. He works the whole stage and he’s an authentic rock star with the power to captivate his fans. During his Top 24 performance of “With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles, he interacted with the audience, falling to his knees to sing directly to them. He truly feels the music, channeling the essences of his idols, James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Presley.

Is Tristen An American Idol Legend In The Making?

This season of American Idol is heavy on country music, which is always a crowd-pleasing favorite, but Tristen has a t-shirt, jeans, and boots vibe. He brings the electricity of rock music to the stage, which is built on theatrics, with makeup, jewelry, and fashionable clothes. During his Top 20 performance of “Sacrifice” by The Weeknd, Tristen’s performance hearkened back to the groundbreaking Idol moments from rockers Constantine Maroulis from season 4, Adam Lambert from season 8, and James Durbin from season 10. Katy always tells him that she is a bit scared of him, but that is what makes him so compelling to watch. Tristen brings excitement and spice to a show that can sometimes feel a bit predictable.

Related: American Idol: Gabby Barrett Returns As Guest Mentor

Although Tristen did not earn enough votes from America to make it into the American Idol season 20 Top 14, his thrilling performance of “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, during which he played guitar, convinced the judges to save him. At one point during the song, he pointed directly at the judges, asking them if they were “gonna go his way.” With his eyeliner, long earrings, and sparkling shirt, he looked like a true rock star. Tristen is somehow humble and confident at the same time, theatrical yet authentic. American Idol season 20 needs Tristen Gressett.

Next: American Idol: Why Kenedi Anderson Left The Competition

American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.

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