Venezuelan refugee Michelle Sussett received a standing ovation from all of the “American Idol” judges last night. The singer nailed her duet performance with “Despacito” star, Luis Fonsi. The two were right at home singing a bittersweet love and loss song to each other. The two Latin singers covered “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt.
“That is what you call chemistry. Your voices blended together perfectly,” said judge Lionel Richie.
Sussett began her American Idol journey with her audition performance of queen Selena Quintanilla’s song, “Techno Cumbia.” She worked her way up to American Idol’s top 24 with performances of “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross, “24k Magic” by Bruno Mars and “If I Were A Boy” by Beyonce. And now with her duet performance, Sussett has won herself a spot in the top 14 of “American Idol.”
Sussett was left completely speechless and in tears after receiving the news about her advancement in the competition.
As a Venezuelan refugee who left her hometown in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, making it this far in the competition is beyond huge for Sussett. She came to the United States at 18 years old and hasn’t been able to see her mother since then, who still remains in Venezuela.
Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.
Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.
“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”
The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.
There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”
Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.
“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.
He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.
Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.
What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?
Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.
Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?
How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.
What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?
“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.
I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.
Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.
What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?
It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.
What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?
She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.
You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?
She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.
What can we expect from you in 2021?
A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.
The Trump World’s old days of reality television domination might be back to haunt us.
With their leader ousted as president, or having booted them out of their world long ago, plenty of figures in Trump’s inner circle have tried their hand at taking their positions of power and running with them… right onto the reality television screen. You might remember that it didn’t take long for Trump’s political mouthpiece Sean Spicer to take a turn around the Dancing With The Star stage soon after he departed from the White House. Even U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s scorned wife, Louise Linton, recently nailed distribution for her horror film, Me You Madness. Perhaps, it might not be long before we see the likes of Ivanka and Jared taking on their own version of “The Newly Weds” or doing interviews on “The Real Housewives” franchise.
The first to take the plunge post-2020 election?
TikTok hero Claudia Conway. Of course, her reality show push we don’t mind.
Claudia, the teenage daughter of top Trump’s propagandist Kellyanne, is now on “American Idol.”
Last weekend, the teenager with a substantial TikTok following, thanks largely to her efforts to speak out against Trump and in support of Black Lives Matter, revealed that she tried out for “American Idol.”
“Hey guys, I’m here at American Idol confessional, Conway revealed to her followers on TikTok. “I met Ryan Seacrest today and I have my audition soon…. I’m very, very nervous, but very excited.”
The fourth season of Idol on ABC is set to return on Feb. 14. According to Billboard, “Conway seems like a slam dunk, as she’s shown off her impressive vocals on her TikTok account, which has nearly 1.5 million followers; a source close to Idol confirmed that Conway is auditioning for the show.”
During her appearance, Claudia insisted that appearing on the series was an “amazing opportunity” to find herself and establish her own identity. Still, backlash to Claudia’s TV appearance garnered immediate and intense backlash. Twitter users protested her appearance which columnated in an article published by Variety called “How ‘American Idol’ Used Claudia Conway writing “The first thing that feels jarringly wrong about this is the degree to which a child at the center of a dispute that has bled into public view is being asked to launder the reputations of two adults who should know better.”
“American Idol is gross for allowing an abusive creature like Kellyanne Conway to rehab her image on the show, and using Claudia Conway’s pain to make a quick buck,” commented on user.
Now, after critics accused the show of exploiting the Conways’ struggles to boost ratings, an “insider” from the network told Page Six the show is “rethinking how they are going to position Claudia and Kellyanne with promotion. They were big on putting Claudia in all of the promos, but now they are thinking of not putting as much focus on that … to not make as big a deal of her being on the show and focus on other contestants.”
Claudia appeared in the new season of “AmericanIdol” which premiered this week.
Claudia can be seen walking into her audition in the post before explaining to the judgest “My parents are high profile political figures… I’m very nervous but very excited.”
Claudia took to TikTok to share the news with her followers commenting “I did audition and it’ll be on air this Sunday, February 14th… I’ve been singing my whole life, I grew up in musical theater. Music has been one of the pillars in my life, and I wouldn’t be here without it. Everyone thinks this is a publicity stunt or me trying to be, like, whatever – but no, music is my passion.”
It didn’t take long for Conway fans to support her audition efforts.
“Claudia Conway going on American Idol is somehow one of the more shocking parts of this year,” one user commented.
Another Twitter user commented “omg claudia conway auditioned for american idol knowing well she has a platform and could just find connections but decided to prove herself in a competition……….. she’s kinda of an icon tbh”
Of course, there are skeptics. “Why the f*** is Claudia Conway going on American Idol???” One user questioned. “Tf is she supposed to say? Yes, I am currently being emotionally abused by my mother, and most of Tiktok hates me, and yes, my mother is Kellyanne Conway? Can she even say those things considering she lives with Kellyanne??”
If 2020 has proven anything, next year will be quite a year for reality television