Local teen sings his way onto TV’s “American Idol”
MONROE — A Monroe High School alum, Benson Boone, will be featured on the new season of “American Idol” that premieres Feb. 14 on ABC. Although many Idol contestants have dreamed of this opportunity for the majority of their lives, Boone discovered his hidden talent for singing just last year.
Boone, who graduated in 2020, said he realized his talent after his friend, Eric Magelsen, asked him to enter a battle of the bands competition at his school only a week before the event. Because Boone played the piano, he agreed to join the band. When it became apparent the band still needed a lead singer, Magelsen suggested he take the role despite not having any singing experience.
“We just realized how good of a singer he really was, so we decided to have him do a song, with just him singing,” Magelsen said.
Practicing with the band as the singer went “alright” according to Boone, but nothing compared to the performance during the competition.
“Something just clicked in my voice, it went so well,” Boone said.
The band won the competition and his hidden talent shocked his friends and family. Boone said no one knew he could sing, not even his parents.
“We sat in the front row, we were just all on the edge of our seats to hear what it was like because he really had never sung in public and he didn’t sing in front of us at all,” Benson’s mom, Kerry Boone said. “We were just amazed, like jaw on the floor, like, ‘oh my gosh, wow.’”
Since that performance, his friends and family urged him to take advantage of this newfound skill. He started singing the national anthem at school assemblies and making videos posted to TikTok, the popular social media platform.
“I don’t even know where it came from,” Boone said. “It just blew up.”
After literally finding his voice, Boone started watching people singing song covers. While watching American Idol audition videos on YouTube one day, Eric suggested that he should try out. The idea stuck with Boone so much that he decided to sign up for an audition via Zoom with the show’s producers.
“They really liked me and invited me to do the celebrity audition,” Boone said.
Benson’s dad said he wasn’t too surprised to hear he was invited to “Idol” after hearing his son sing.
“When he sings it’s just, it’s inspiring to me as a father, of course,” Nate Boone said. “But it’s just beautiful to listen to and I love it.”
Prior to the battle of the bands, Benson Boone had no performing experience but has always considered himself a social person who shines under pressure.
“That is just what makes Benson different from a lot of other people,” Magelsen said. “He doesn’t care so much about what other people think. If there’s something that he really wants to do, then he’s just going to do it.”
Boone said he is good at controlling himself in stressful situations or in front of a lot of people, but being in the presence of Idol’s celebrity judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan was nerve-racking for the young artist.
Boone said he appreciates his community supporting him. Growing up in Monroe, Boone said he prefers the small-town environment rather than a big city because he knows so many people throughout the community.
“When you’re getting support from people that you grew up with, and people you love, I mean, it means so much more than getting support from people you don’t know,” Boone said. “It feels really good, but especially in this community that I’ve grown up in.”
Following the Zoom audition with producers of the show, Boone said he wasn’t sure what to expect.
“There’s just huge competition obviously, they don’t say yes to everyone,” Boone said.
Boone was selected for the celebrity audition round, the round to be aired during the premiere.
He said he plans to pursue a career in the music industry and has started to write his own lyrics.
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