When the freshly crowned Top 10 contestants on “American Idol” take the stage for the next round of competition, it may feel like a bit of deja vu for three of the remaining contestants. Marybeth Byrd, Megan Danielle and Wé Ani have all been Top 10 finalists on another TV singing contest, appearing on NBC’s “The Voice” in recent years.
The three singers are not the only season 21 contestants to have appeared on “The Voice,” but they’re the last ones standing who have that Top 10 experience in their back pockets heading into the next round of “American Idol” on May 1, 2023. Here’s what you need to know:
‘American Idol’ Contestants Were Teens When They Appeared on ‘The Voice’
All three of the Top 10 “American Idol” contestants who also made it to the Top 10 on “The Voice” were teens when they appeared on the show.
Ani had the best outcome of all, finishing third on “The Voice” in 2016 when she was just 17 and on coach Alicia Keys’ team. She went by the name Wé MacDonald at the time, according to NewJersey.com. Now 24, she has changed her stage name to reflect her first and middle names.
“Honestly, it’s actually insane for me to be back on another national broadcasting stage,” she told the website.
In the years since being on “The Voice,” Ani has studied jazz at William Paterson University, attended Harlem School of the Arts, recorded several singles and written a children’s book called “The Little Girl With the Big Voice.” Her dad, Dr. Varleton McDonald, told NewJersey.com that “American Idol” is allowing his daughter to reintroduce herself and her musical gifts now that she’s matured and honed in on her sound.
“It’s a great opportunity for her to see how her talents match up with some of the best young talent that’s out there,” he said. “We always felt she was talented, but she hasn’t had the exposure to warrant the success she’s looking for. With this exposure, we’re looking toward the next level.”
Byrd, meanwhile, was 18 and getting ready to go to college when she appeared on “The Voice” in 2019 and received a four-chair turn from the judges during her blind audition, according to Showbiz Cheat Sheet. Byrd chose to be on John Legend‘s team and advanced to the Top 8 before being eliminated.
In February, the 21-year-old college student and radio DJ told the Arkansas Times that it was hard being on “The Voice” as a teenager.
“Being so young and doing something that big — it was an amazing experience, don’t get me wrong — but I didn’t really know who I was,” Byrd said. “I lost my grandpa in the midst of that, right in the middle of that process. It was a really hard time as such a young person, exploding into the world in that way, being thrown into it. So now, I feel like this new opportunity with a new show has kind of been a saving grace for me.”
In early 2020, Danielle was 17 when she made it onto “The Voice” and placed in the Top 9, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Now 21, she told the paper that back then she didn’t have a clear idea of where she wanted her music career to go and that the show was restrictive about which songs she could perform.
But the producers at “American Idol,” she said, “let you be exactly who you are. That’s what’s amazing. I get to sing the songs that I want.”
Danielle hopes to become a Christian pop artist like Lauren Daigle, who surprised her during her initial audition in front of the “American Idol” judges, and is grateful that the show doesn’t make her hide or ignore her faith.
All three young women continued to impress the “American Idol” judges and viewers during the live show on April 30 and will now compete for a spot in the Top 8 during the two-hour live show airing May 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Other Season 21 Contestants Have Had Experience on ‘The Voice’
Ani, Byrd and Danielle aren’t the only season 21 “American Idol” contestants to have appeared on national TV competitions before. Two other recently eliminated contestants had been on “The Voice,” as well — and they were teens when they competed, too.
In 2016, R&B singer Malik Heard appeared on the show at age 19. According to Idol Chatter, he first chose Christina Aguilera’s team, but Pharrell Williams saved him from elimination during the Battle Rounds, only for him to go home the next week.
Though he and Ani appeared on “The Voice” during the same year, he was on season 10 while she was on season 11. On “American Idol,” Heard made it to the Top 26 but was one of six people eliminated as the Top 20 was announced.
Meanwhile, Michael Williams appeared on “The Voice” in early 2020 when he was an 18-year-old high school senior. He joined the team coached by Nick Jonas, who told him he “had the voice of an angel,” according to WVXU. Williams won his Knockout Round but was eliminated during the live wild card competition that May.
Now 21, Williams made it through to the Top 20 on “Idol,” but was one of eight contestants eliminated on April 24 as the show revealed its Top 12 based on viewer votes and judge saves.
Two other “Idol” contestants who didn’t get much airtime also had previous experience on “The Voice.” Rebecca Bruner, who appeared on two rounds of “The Voice” in 2013, was eliminated during Hollywood Week of “American Idol,” according to the Lansing State Journal. In addition, Samuel Harness advanced to the semifinals of “The Voice” in 2021, according to Idol Chatter, but was eliminated after the Showstoppper Round on season 21 of “Idol.”