Casey Bishop, an unheralded 15-year-old singer, gave an electrifying performance on “American Idol” that could help lift the pioneering reality show out of the doldrums.
The show was a sensation when it initially aired on Fox in June 2002, and it minted a number of respectable music acts.
But the show was a shell of its former self by the time it aired its 15th and final season in 2016, The New York Independent reported, at the time.
The format was stale; its never-ending game of changing musical judges couldn’t match the chemistry of the original trio and the overall level of talent had fallen considerably.
Still the show minted such stars as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert, and Jordin Sparks.
Beyond that, the show prompted pretty much every producer in Hollywood to try and capitalize on its success.
“The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Nashville Star,” “So You Think You Can (Insert Talent Here) and, of course, “American Idol” founder Simon Cowell’s own “X-Factor,” mimicked the format.
The show went on hiatus for two years until ABC revived it in March 2018. But it’s still looking for a way to cut through the chaff of flashier talent shows.
Getting back to its roots, discovering true raw talent could be it’s ticket back to respectability of not the monster ratings of the old show.
Bishop is a sophomore at The Center for the Arts at Cypress Lake High School in Estero, Fla. Until the show, she had only performed with her school chorus and at school talent shows, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.
On the show, Bishop confessed that she really “didn’t have any performance experience, really,” before her audition.
She has a decided preference for rock, revealing she listens to Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers and also loves blues singers, like Ella Fitzgerald.
Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and country star Luke Bryan seemed skeptical of her talent. Or maybe, that’s just their schtick.
Not only did she sing with clarity, style and emotion, she seemed absolutely fearless.
Afrer signing an a cappella version of Motley Crue’s “Live Wire” (a feat in itself), Perry wasn’t convinced and wanted to hear more.
Bishop offered to sing a Sarah Vaughan chestnut “My Funny Valentine.”
That broke the dam. Bryan brashly predicted that she would be the winner.
Perry went with cosmic. “So, you’re 15. It’s obviously not your first time on this planet (reincarnation?), but maybe this time you will fulfill your purpose.
“You’re really, really, really good, and I love the idea that nobody knows you can sing beside you and a couple of your friends, and your hairbrush, probably,” she said.
Yep, she has rock goddess looks with hair tumbling over her shoulders like Grace Slick in her Jefferson Airplane days.
But Richie hit the nail on its head. “We’re going to enjoy watching you grow, right here in front of us. The sky is the limit.”
The show was widely criticized for allowing Tik-Toc problem child Claudia Conway to audition, seemingly because of her high-profile background (daughter of Kellyanne Conway).
But if “American Idol” can find more budding artists like Bishop, and give viewers the opportunity to watch them grow, it would go along way toward re-establishing its credibility.
See her performance below, and an earlier performance on YouTube