16-year-old Ambria Smith of Media heads into tonight’s Delco Idol final round show at the Media Theatre as one of the three 14-to-24-year-old performers Philadelphia Jewish Culture Examiner considers most likely to win the 5-week vocal/stage presence competition.
Asked how it feels to be one of the three favorites, at least in this critic’s opinion, to win, Smith responds, “I feel like ‘oh my gosh’. I love singing. I really do. I love performing. This is what I want to do. So it’s an honor.”
Smith, who is heading into her junior year at Penncrest High School, is part of a musical family. Her older brother, Michael Smith, accompanied her on guitar during her Week 4 performance of Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy.” About her father, Michael Smith, Ambria Smith says, “He used to be in a band. And he just inspires me so much. I think I got the love of music from him. And he plays all the time. He just always encourages me to do my best.”
Asked about her confidence and her tendency to smile, Smith says, “When I get on stage, I’m just in a different world, so I just block out everything. I guess I’m a happy person.”
As for her musical taste, Smith likes R&B best. Her favorite performers in include Beyoncé. Smith says, “That’s why I picked ‘If I Were A Boy.’ Not only is she a singer, but she is an amazing performer, dancer, everything. I love her. And I’m starting to love Jessie J as well.”
Asked about older performers, Smith responds “I actually like Chaka Khan. My family is having some sort of get-together next month, and I’m doing ‘Sweet Thing’ by Chaka Khan.”
Smith’s tastes have been reflected somewhat by her song choices. In addition to “If I Were A Boy” last week, she sang Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” in Week 2 and Keys’ “Superwoman” in Week 3. (Smith’s Week 1 performance was of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why,” which is more jazz than R&B.)
However, in terms of tonight’s show, Smith says, “I’m going to change it up a bit. I’m thinking of doing a song from Sister Act.” In the event that she is among the 5 contestants chosen to go on to to the second half of Round 5 tonight, Smith says, “For my second song, I’d do a song that I auditioned for: ‘Stand Up’ by Jessie J.”
Asked about her previous experience, Smith responds, “I’ve been in a couple of plays at my school.” She mentions that she was in a competition in April for the entire Northeast region and “came in third for the ‘contemporary vocal.'” She adds, “There were so many people in the competition who were so talented. It was a great experience for me.”
Smith is aware of how talented some of the other Delco Idol finalists are. She says, “Oh, I love Melanie Herrera (18, Wallingford). I was just talking to her backstage. She is amazing. I love her voice and how much control she has of her voice. And her acting is amazing too.” Smith says that, if she doesn’t win the overall competition, it “definitely” would be less painful to lose to Herrera.
She adds that, as for Brian McFadden (24, Drexel Hill): “I almost cried during his performance [in Round 4 of “Time To Say Goodbye,” popularized by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman]. It was so good.”
In the end, Smith takes the competition aspect of the whole Delco Idol series of shows in stride. According to her: “I’m just in it to have fun.”
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Believe it or not, thorough coverage of Delco Idol and Delco Idol Jr. is not doing all that much for the retirement fund of Philadelphia Jewish Culture Examiner, Adam Taxin. Taxin is available to perform work as an attorney, writer, tutor (online and in-person) and/or public-relations maven.
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