19-Year-Old Kristen Cruz’s Smoky Voice Amazes America’s Got Talent Judges

Texan singer Kristen Cruz has the voice of an old-time soul sister in the body of a 19-year-old and just blew the judges on America’s Got Talent away with her take on “I See Red” by Everybody Loves An Outlaw. The unassuming teen answered their questions shyly before the performance but when she took up the mic, the smoky voice of a star emerged.

Cruz was left emotional after letting it all out on stage and was blinking away tears afterwards. Judges called her performance “unbelievable” multiple times and gave her a standing ovation with the crowd. Judge Heidi Klum said “I want your voice. I love everything about you; you are a star already.”

The performance was from Cruz’s audition during season 17 of America’s Got Talent and has been viewed nearly 23 million times on YouTube. She picked up four yes votes from the judges and advanced as far as the semi-final round, where she finished in the top five.

Cruz is from Crowley, Texas and was born on May 5, 2002. Later in the series Cruz tried her hand at “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Ronson featuring Miley Cyrus. She again showed off her husky and powerful voice, progressing confidently from the low-key verse into the dramatic chorus. You can hear the performance, which has gained four million views, on YouTube below.

Cruz has continued to advance her career after her time on America’s Got Talent. Her fanbase on Tik Tok has continued to build and she currently has 6.6 million followers. Her channel is quite unique as it shows not only her amazing vocals but also her talent for cooking, as she discussed in her audition on America’s Got Talent.

Even before her appearance on America’s Got Talent in 2022, Cruz had begun building her original pop music career, with the release of two singles in 2020. The young star has continued to build on this momentum with a series of singles since then, the biggest of which are “Love Shouldn’t Be a Fight” and “Dancing in the Sky”, both of which were released in 2022.

Both singles have reached nearly 1.5 million streams on Cruz’s Spotify. Her biggest song still remains her cover of “I See Red” though. The dark country rock song was originally by Everybody Loves an Outlaw, a musical duo made up of husband and wife Bonnie and Taylor Sims. The independent act scored a huge viral hit with “I See Red”, which was helped along by being featured in the Polish movie 365 Days, which was a surprise Netflix hit.

Everybody Loves an Outlaw started their career in Texas, then moved to Colorado to find a music scene that was more open to their sound. It was evidently a smart move as the lyric video to “I See Red” has been viewed 61 million times on YouTube, as well as many millions more on various covers by high-profile acts. If you would like to see more from Kristen Cruz, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow her on Instagram.

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