Tyson Venegas is one step closer to potentially becoming one of the youngest winners — and the first from Canada — of one of the most prestigious singing competitions in the world.
Family, friends and Tri-Cities residents learned this week that the 17-year-old student from Port Moody reached the top 12 of American Idol as a result of the latest polls from viewers.
It's the halfway point of the annual reality competition. The winner is set to receive $250,000 and a record deal with a major label, which may be for up to six albums.
Venegas has nearly coasted his way through the 21st season with his soulful voice, outstanding confidence and a powerful stage presence (even when he chooses to play the piano at the same time).
You could say, in quoting his most recent performance, he's not letting the sun go down on his Hollywood opportunity any time soon.
"Thank you for believing in me. Thank [you] for all your votes," Venegas said in a social media post after the episode was televised on Monday (April 24).
"Thank you everyone for voting for me! Thank you American Idol for this moment."
Venegas has noticeably become a fan favourite on the show, especially of Idol's three celebrity judges: Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
Since he first appeared before them in Las Vegas, the Heritage Woods Secondary student has continued to drop jaws to the floor, make people move to the music and even bring goosebumps to one or all of the judges.
He was one of four contestants to earn a platinum ticket during the audition stage, sending him straight to the second round of "Hollywood Week" which, by the end, narrowed the field to 26.
Now in the top 12, and the last of the platinum ticket winners remaining, there's still at least four more weeks before the finale, but Venegas is hoping voters can help him make history.
Venegas has gained lots of attraction locally in receiving support from his school, his community and the Vancouver Canucks.
He was invited to sing the national anthems and perform during the intermissions of the team's games in March and early April — an honour he received eight years earlier as well at nine years old.
He's also released his debut album on March 31, which includes an original song he performed for the top 20 episode.
To date on American Idol, Venegas has performed the following songs:
- "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel and Tony Bennett (audition)
- "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen (duet chellange, Hollywood Week)
- "Cuz I Love You" by Lizzo (showstopper round)
- "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars (top 26)
- "180 (original)" by Tyson Venegas (top 20)
- "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Elton John
The next show is set to be a live coast-to-coast vote, which will determine the top 10.
Venegas can be seen on American Idol in Canada on Citytv on Sunday (April 30) and Monday (May 1) at 8 p.m. Pacific.
To vote for Venegas following, you can visit the show's website.
If he makes it all the way to the end, the season 21 finale is tentatively scheduled for May 21.
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