Tristan McIntosh was born on April 25, 2000 in Nashville, Tennessee to a currently overseas Army major, her mom Amy McIntosh and her dad Freddie McIntosh. Tristan attended the Nashville School of the Arts and is a member of the Clarksville’s Faith Outreach Church community. She has been performing in local talent competitions since she was thirteen. In 2013, she won the Q108’s Clarksville’s Got Talent competition for her enchanting voice. The musical maven has since participated in local choirs and the Let Freedom Sing Tour.
A true Southern girl
The farewell season of American Idol sports a host of talent competition veterans and musical prodigies groomed for the competition since childhood and Tristan McInotsh is one of them. Unlike the other Southern contestants, Tristan McIntosh has embraced her heritage and performed a medley of country songs during her stint on American Idol. The independent teen won’t shy away from sultry country classics, as many of the other contestants have. Contestants Dalton Rapattoni and Mackenzie Bourg come to mind — both share a Southern heritage and a reluctance to grace the audience with country crooning. Southern belle Tristan McIntosh shows no such fear of stereotyping. She belts and croons in her charming Nashville twang to an uproar of applause. She’s the sole contestant on the fifteenth and final season of American Idol to claim country music as her forte — a powerful statement in a pool of contestants that prefer pop and alternative rock.
Nashville pride aside, Tristan McIntosh has jettisoned through the competition to a well-earned spot in the top eight. With her good standing among the judges and enchanting voice, Tristan poses a major threat to the opposition. The only contestants comparable in raw talent would be La’Porsha Renae and Sonika Vaid — two of the frontrunners for the title. The talent Tristan McIntosh has in spades could only be tarnished by poor song choice and direction. Thankfully, Tristan seems confident in her set list and theatrics. The virtuoso even rejected advice from original American Idol winner and pop sensation Kelly Clarkson; instead of performing a recommended song, Tristan veered in the direction of a personal favorite. The independent-minded spitfire has a lot to offer the world of music.
Her special audition
Tristan McIntosh originally auditioned in Little Rock, Arkansas alongside several fellow American Idol hopefuls. In the company of her loving father, Freddie, Tristan vowed to make her mother proud. “I feel like my mom’s going to be here in spirit,” she remarked. Dressed to the nines in a spiffy jacket and black bow, the precocious teen rocked the judges with a soulful rendition of “Why Baby Why” by Mickey Guyton. The country hit suited McIntosh’s charming piano and deeply moving vocals. The performance quite literally gave judge Jennifer Lopez chills. “This is why I’m bursting. I see in you something very, very special,” she said. Tristan’s mother even issued her a letter, which was read aloud by Harry Connick Jr. as Tristan teared up. “You’re my big hero,” read the letter, “and I wish you luck on your audition. Most importantly, have fun.” Tristan was visibly sobbing as the remaining judges ushered her into the Hollywood round. Shortly after, in one of the most heart-wrenching moments in American Idol history, Tristan was personally given her golden ticket by the one person she didn’t expect to arrive: her mother. Tearfully embracing her beloved mother, Tristan received her ticket: “Tristan, you’re going to Hollywood!”
Her journey on American Idol
Tristan is ready to compete amongst the other candidates for the coveted Big Machine Records deal. Tristan McIntosh is armed with an enchanting voice and a flair for theatrics that will undoubtedly aid her in the coming rounds. With her mother present at the introductory round of Hollywood Week, Tristan McIntosh performed “Something In The Water” by Carrie Underwood. The judges immediately selected Tristan to proceed. Flying down the staircase, Tristan met her mother in a joyous hug. It was only the beginning for Tristan. For her solo round during Hollywood Week, Tristan managed to wrangle a song she was deeply emotionally connected with: “What Hurts the Most” by Mark Wills. Predictably she dedicated the song to her mother. Her performance was absolutely heartbreaking; Tristan pummeled the competition with her truly heartfelt rendition of the sorrowful country hit. “I got really emotional during that performance,” Tristan said after the fact, “I almost started crying on stage.” The heart-stealing country crooner had her big break after that performance. She advanced into the showcase round with aplomb.
In the showcase round, Tristan delivered an absolutely remarkable performance of “Stronger” by Faith Hill. Tristan’s voice was infectiously powerful as she belted the lyrics to the song. The judges were impressed by her consistent excellent performance, but they were eager to hear more from the young singer. They praised her voice, of course, but were hesitant to elect her into the top twenty-four. Tristan needed to demonstrate that she had the versatility to cover a wider variety of songs; in that vein, they decided they were ready for more of her. They selected her to progress.
In the duet round, Tristan McIntosh was paired with singer Kellie Pickler to perform the latter’s hit single “Best Days of Your Life”. Kellie and her family were so moved by Tristan’s initial audition that they cried — all the evidence they needed to know that they had to support Tristan. Together, they choreographed the moment that Tristan wanted to be the highlight of the performance: after the second chorus. “Kellie brings out the happier, sassier side of me,” remarked Tristan. Boy, did it show. Tristan was a sauntering starlet on that stage. She engaged the crowd and bounced around the stage like she owned it. At the tender age of fifteen, Tristan was already singing like a professional.
Tristan’s progress after that round was momentous. She owned her solo performance of “Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood. The sassy, saucy Tristan was out in full force. She was slamming the audience with riff after riff — the audience couldn’t resist her power. She was singing loud and proud. As she progressed through the competition — landing in the top ten — she continued to grow as a vocalist. In her performance of “Nothin’ Like You” by Dan + Shay. In the top eight, Tristan bestowed the audience with a piano accompanied rendition of “Go Rest On That High Mountain” by Vince Gill. Once again, Tristan proved herself worthy of her position. The teenage singer has a bright future ahead of her.