Something is different about this year's Top 24 of American Idol because some of them, like crowd-pleaser and Voice alum Mark Andrew Pudas, actually first started auditioning for another TV singing competition. When American Idol revealed its Top 24 before its season premiere (for the first time ever, I might add), some of the faces looked familiar. As usual, many of Season 14's contestants had auditioned for previous seasons and decided to give Idol success another shot. And while it's always fun to see determined contestants come back, armed with the knowledge last year's judges laid on them, we can now enjoy a twist on that formula with 28-year-old Minnesota native Mark Andrew. His short-lived experience on The Voice might be the advantage that gets him far on Idol.
If you recall from Season 4 of the award-winning NBC singing competition, Mark Andrew impressed both Adam Levine and Shakira during his blind audition and quickly found himself on Team Shakira. Even though his time on the reality series was brief, the show afforded the singer some cool new opportunities like performing alongside Voice winner Nicholas David. But, evidently, that just wasn't enough. According to Mark Andrew's personal website, his time on Team Shakira increased his desire and drive to continue his musical journey — which is exactly why you'll find him in Idol's Top 24 this year.
As he told Southwest Metro Magazine, Mark auditioned after a friend encouraged him to give it a shot. Unfortunately Mark Andrew lost his Battle Round and wasn't able to continue, but in no way did this discourage him. On the contrary, Mark Andrew said working so closely with the Voice coaches' level of professionalism helped him grow as an artist.
Not many people in the world can say that international superstars like Shakira and Good Charlotte's Joel Madden encouraged them to be more confident. If nothing else, Mark Andrew's Voice journey is going to be a huge advantage for him moving into the live rounds of a wildly different competition.
We haven't seen Mark Andrew's audition or Hollywood Rounds yet, but my guess is that his time spent in Hollywood with Shakira and Joel Madden could only have helped him. According to that same interview with Southwest Metro Magazine, Shakira and Madden really stressed the importance of selling a performance to the crowd, which we all know is just as crucial to the Idol judges.
Meanwhile, Mark Andrew is a folksy and bluesy singer with some grit who writes and performs songs that cross genres. As you can tell, he already has the voice and it's a huge plus that he writes his own music. Before The Voice, he might not have had what it takes, but now that I know he was chosen as one of the Top 12 guys, I'm fully confident that he's gained that confidence and his own it factor.
Images: NBC (Screengrab)