NORTH LOGAN – “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, excitement and nerves,” exclaimed Kenadi Dodds on the eve of her America’s Got Talent finale. After more than a six month process, the North Logan teen will be among 10 finalists vying for a $1 million prize on the NBC show. The live finale airs Tuesday at 7 p.m. Mountain Time on NBC but fans can begin voting as early as 6 p.m.
Kenadi began the audition process last spring just as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country. The show usually features an auditorium full of people but Kenadi has had to do more performing in front of cameras than people.
“It’s definitely hard, and definitely tricky for me to do. I just have to imagine the camera is the audience and I try to feed off of that. But it’s definitely not the same as a real audience.”
Kenadi has performed three times now on the national program, with one more opportunity to persuade viewers. She says it has been a fun process deciding which songs to perform on the competition, whether choosing an original song of hers or performing an already-recognized song.
“I always am willing and loving to do my originals. My originals are what make me me, and I love performing them,” she explained. Her first two songs were originals, but the song she performed in the semi-finals was a cover of “Be a Light” by Thomas Rhett.
“If I do a cover it’s usually because I found a cover that I believe in so strongly that I feel that it’s important to sing. It’s all about connecting with the lyrics and connecting with the audience, and being able to make them feel something. I feel like the cover I did last round was everything I wanted in my music career, to be a light in a world that needs light right now.”
When asked if she could give a preview of what she might perform for the finale, and whether she’ll be using a piano or a guitar, Kenadi coyly responded, “You’ll have to wait! I can’t wait though. I’m so excited. I’m really ready for this next performance.”
Rather than performing in front of the judges, Kenadi says the creative team with America’s Got Talent and Universal Studios have done a great job creating beautiful sets after she informs them of the type of song she will perform. The performance is then videoed and played back for the program.
Kenadi has been living in California for the past month because of the show’s weekly live broadcasts and need to maintain coronavirus safety. She said the only time to interact with the other contestants is during regular COVID testing or during the broadcasts. Kenadi has spent a lot of time in isolation.
“It’s been pretty lonely sometimes! You find yourself talking to trees outside your window.”
Kenadi’s father, Chris, has been able to spend time with her in California while her mom and younger sisters watch from home. She’s also had to start school online since classes began the day after she arrived in Los Angeles.
“I’ve been doing that every day and I still have A’s so I’m proud of that. The only crazy days are show days when I need to catch up the day after. And this week has been nuts because it’s finals and it’s a really short amount of time to be ready.”
After the final results are announced on Wednesday, Kenadi said she hopes to continue a career in country music.
“I’m going to keep working as hard as I can to hopefully go to Nashville, and hopefully record an album, and hopefully keep growing and building and keep learning to the point where I reach my goals and my dreams,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of work and I won’t stop working. I love music.
“AGT has been such an amazing platform to be on and it gives me so much publicity. I feel like I will keep working as hard as I can to keep growing and to keep building my talent and use that momentum to push forward.”
For anyone else hoping to experience a similar journey as Kenadi, she said to keep working hard and not give up.
“If you love what you do, show it,” she exclaimed. “…don’t be scared to try things that seem hard. If you ever get told ‘no’ fight for what you believe in and be true to you. Follow your gut is one of my favorite things Heidi (Klum) told me on the show.”
America’s Got Talent results show airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. Mountain on NBC.
INTERVIEW: Kenadi Dodds prepares for the AGT finale