Lauren Spencer-Smith gave American Idol viewers a view of Sproat Lake when she performed from her home town of Port Alberni on April 26. (Photo courtesy ABC Network)

Vancouver Island teen singer looks back on ‘American Idol’ experience

Lauren Spencer-Smith reached Top 20, made lifelong friendships and improved her skills

Lauren Spencer-Smith’s American Idol journey may be over, but the teenage singer said she made friends and memories along the way that will stay with her forever.

On Sunday the votes were counted as fans selected which contestants would advance from the Top 20 to the Top 10. Although Spencer-Smith, who hails from Port Alberni and lives in Nanaimo, was among those who did not make the cut, she still sees the silver lining.

“I think it’s such an accomplishment for all of us in the Top 20 and I think we were happy either way because we had made it far,” she said. “We made it to the Top 20, we made so many friendships and met so many amazing people that I think there’s just so much positive to take away from it.”

Spencer-Smith said she didn’t expect she would make it so far into the competition and attributes her success to her demonstrating growth and improvement after every round. She said she’s become a better singer and performer and that the judges and audience took notice.

“I used to kind of just stand there and sing and then throughout the show I became really comfortable onstage,” she said. “But I also think my vocal ability has grown just from being around other singers and learning what they do with their voice.”

She said judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan gave helpful feedback and are “really great people.”

“All of them are super sweet and kind. They really want us to be the best version of ourselves and give us criticism to help us and praise when we did well,” she said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contestants looking to make it into the Top 10 performed from home. In her performance, Spencer-Smith made an impression not just with her rendition of Momma Knows Best by pop singer Jessie J, but with the view of Sproat Lake from her father’s home in Port Alberni.

Spencer-Smith said she was in a virtual call with the American Idol team showing them around the house looking for a place for her to sing when they got a look out the window.

“They were like, ‘Wait, is that a lake outside?’ and they were like, ‘Oh my goodness we need to do this outside’ and everyone just kind of fell in love with the view,” she said, adding that she’s happy she got to show off the B.C. landscape.

On social media, Spencer-Smith’s fans expressed their displeasure that the performance didn’t pull her through to the next round. She said she’s grateful to have had such an enthusiastic group cheering her on.

“I love my fans to pieces. The support that they give me is just crazy and so overwhelming because they’re just full of love and full of support for me,” she said. “Nothing’s possible without them.”

While she said she’ll remember everything about her American Idol experience, Spencer-Smith said her favourite part was the week the Top 40 spent in Hawaii, which she said is now her “favourite place.”

“That was when everyone really met their best friends on the show and everyone connected so well and we all just got to basically be on a big vacation together and everyone just moulded into family and became so close…” she said. “I didn’t even realize when I went into the show that I was going to be making so many friendships that are going to last a lifetime, but I really did.”

RELATED: Nanaimo teen singer passes American Idol audition

RELATED: Nanaimo’s Lauren Spencer-Smith advances to American Idol top 20



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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