Monday, February 17, 2020


Sometimes, the “original” thing, or show as it were, feels that it has always been the best, and so it is with “American Idol” which made reality singing competitions the thing. Its 18th season overall, and third on current home network ABC, premiered this Sunday on February 16. The usual gang of host Ryan Seacrest and judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan are back to once again find the best singing talent to flock to the competition for the audience to ultimately vote into the newest Idol on the block. If you ask me, my money is on this adorable but talented kid who gets nervous so easily.

That was no understatement too. Francisco Martin, an 18-year-old from San Francisco was utterly tongue-tied during his talking head segment prior to his audition performance on “American Idol” season 18. They even emphasized it by starting with an outtake with Martin flubbing his introduction and the cameraman coaching him. Francisco goes on to reveal his self-confidence issues that put a damper on his conversational interactions, which must be a problem with his pre-law college course. He does say that music is his preferred career, but those nerves are just troublesome.

Luke and Lionel quickly cotton on that Martin was freaked out of his mind the moment he stepped into the audition room and stood on the “oval of judgment” (Katy’s words). Anyway, the guys quickly put Francisco in a calming exercise, though Luke has to throw in some humor by suggesting an EMT stand by just in case, after counting the kid’s pulse. Understandably his parents Jon and Fatima Martin are picking up on the nervousness because they feel the same way. Now I know what you all are thinking: Why would I focus on an “Idol" contestant who could barely form a complete sentence and is a nervous wreck?

I would say check out that video. Francisco Martin’s preliminary piece for the “American Idol” judges is Maggie Rogers’ 2016 song “Alaska,” an appropriate folk-pop choice given he brought a guitar too. But you said he had problems keeping calm in the spotlight, you insist. I insist back, listen to the song part. Zero panic, steely nerve, unbelievable voice. Katy Perry gave a thumbs-up in the first few seconds, and it was all wonderful from there. When he was done, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie commented that he may have been playing up the nerves. But that was not all.

When Martin confirms for Katy that he writes his own material too, the judges encourage him to perform a snippet. So Francisco sings a song he wrote about an Australian (girl) friend that recently visited him; and if he was great covering another artist’s song, then he was godly with his own words and melody. And the nervousness is what completes his charming package; he embarrassedly stopped singing his composition when the judges comment that his lyrics make the Aussie friend seem so much more. What a cute future Idol!

Katy Perry’s post-performance assessment is that Francisco is a “Top Ten.” I agree though I place this heartbreaker in the Top Five. And whoops, Luke voiced my opinion afterwards. At the end of things, this has got to be one of the best contestants they have sent to Hollywood. Francisco from San Francisco, they nicknamed him. And why not, with his boyish bashfulness hiding a formidable voice and onstage presence in one? Here in Morgan Magazine I am ready and willing to rally support for Francisco Martin; he has got what it takes to become the 18th American Idol. Here is hoping I get to hear much more from him.

American Idol” on its eighteenth season airs Sundays on ABC.

Image: American Idol YouTube (screenshot)


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