Lisa Allen

BANNERS recalls 2018 ‘American Idol’ performance: “I spent most of my time trying not to look at Lionel Richie”

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“Someone to You” by British musician Michael Nelson, who records under the name BANNERS, came out way back in 2017, but thanks to its use in a trailer for a TV show, a T-Mobile commercial, a movie and on TikTok, it’s now a radio hit.  If the name and song sound familiar to you, it’s because you might remember that BANNERS actually performed on American Idol in 2018, the first year it was on ABC.

Michael was one of several artists — including Bebe Rexha, Colbie Caillat and Andy Grammer — who took part in that season’s Showcase Round, where they teamed up with contestants to perform their own hits and covers.

Michael sang “Someone to You” with contestant Ron Bultongez, and Coldplay‘s “Yellow” with contestant Alyssa Raghu, but he says the presence of judge Lionel Richie made it hard for him to concentrate.

“One thing about it is, they’re very much in your eye-line, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan,” Michael recalls to ABC Audio. “And the thing about Lionel Richie specifically is, he really looks like Lionel Richie!”

“I mean, you’re mainly trying to do a good job for the kids that you’re playing with because you want them to do well in the competition,” he continues. “So you’re really just trying to do a good job, and then every now and then, you just catch sight of Lionel Richie and you’ll just be like, ‘Whoa! Got to remember the words here!'”

Michael laughs, “So I spent most of my time just trying to not look at Lionel to be honest! But no, it was great. Of course, it was great to be asked to do it, yeah.”

By Andrea Dresdale
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