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  • Leigh Gerstenberger

Performing Under Pressure




As I’ve frequently shared, I love all kinds of music. As a result, I confess that I’m more than a bit addicted to American Idol, The Voice and America’s Got Talent. While I don’t have much time to listen to all the build-up around each contestant, I do enjoy watching the performances as most of the contestants are very talented.


I find it particularly interesting how often performers admit that their television appearance is often the first time that they’ve performed in public. As if this weren’t pressure enough, occasionally on America’s Got Talent the lead judge, Simon Cowell will periodically stop the performer from singing and ask them to either sing a different tune or perform their song differently in an attempt to better showcase the individual’s talent.


While I’m sure this is done with the best of intentions, it’s sure to make an already stressful situation nearly unbearable from the contestant’s point of view.


One such situation took place in 2019 during Season 4 of AGT when 11-year-old Ansley Burns was stopped mid-song while performing an iconic Aretha Franklin tune and asked to start over acapella, i.e., unaccompanied by instruments. The grace with which Ansley handled this curve ball is a master class on how to perform under pressure. This five-minute video of her performance brought tears to my eyes…what about you?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SfrccLSHIM


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