AleXa, the K-Pop singer from Oklahoma, brought honor to her home country by winning the first American song contestwhich concluded its eight-week run on Monday, May 9 with a grand final that pitted 10 of 56 entries from US states and territories for victory.
The voting process duplicated the way votes are presented in the Eurovision Song Contest. First, the professional jury’s points were tallied as the 56 jurors were divided among 10 geographic sections of the United States, each having a representative announcing live on air which contestant received their highest 12-point score. , with further points from 10 to 1 awarded quickly on screen.
After all the jury points were announced, Allen Stone’s song “A Little Bit of Both” from Washington State was in the lead with 105 points. AleXa’s song “Wonderland” was in fifth place with 60 points.
But as any Eurovision viewer knows, the audience’s points are then announced, which is often a game-changer. Oklahoma received 656 points in televised voting and moved into first place with a total of 710 points. Washington State couldn’t catch up, finishing in fifth place with 254 points. Colorado’s Ryker Lynch, who was in last place with 25 points after the jury vote, received a massive infusion of public votes and ended up in second place with 503 points.
Alexa said Billboard after the show that as a Eurovision viewer she knew she hadn’t lost the game as Washington was in the lead after the jury vote. But that didn’t mean she would be the winner either. “I was a little nervous after the jury vote, but knowing how the point system works, I was holding hands with my mum and dad, praying so hard for my dreams to come true. Thankfully they did. did and I was lucky to win this contest.
And how did she feel when she found out she had won? “I felt like my brain had exploded because my mother was holding me by the arm and she was crying and shaking, so I cried with her. It was a very moving experience. Sharing this moment with my team and all the CSA friends who were in the crowd meant the world to me.
This grand finale marked AleXa’s third time performing “Wonderland” on the American song contest. She sang it in episode 1 and then again in the semi-finals. There were some differences in the third performance. “First of all, being suspended in the air on a chair, it’s quite different I would say but it’s also super cool because during the dress rehearsal, I couldn’t see the outfits of the dancers. I saw them for the first time today on stage and they looked phenomenal and kicked ass as usual. I’m happy to have this incredible creative team to make everything possible. Each stage felt like a new challenge and I’m so grateful that we conquered this one together.
One thing that never changed in the three performances was AleXa’s spectacular backward fall from the top of a flight of stairs. Was she afraid to take the plunge? “Oh no,” she said Billboard. “I love stunts. I love doing falls. I’m not afraid of heights. I’ve spoken to [series co-host] Snoop Dogg on this and he is, apparently.
The series’ other co-host, Kelly Clarkson, stopped by to talk to Billboard after the show on Alexa. “I knew her before because my niece is a huge K-pop fan. She’s already obsessed with her, as are many fans. Honestly, that’s why the vote counted, right? Like if Allen Stone was going to take it and America came along and voted and it was like “No”.
Talking about the possibility of AleXa appearing on the Billboard charts, Clarkson said, “I’ve never seen anything quite like AleXa. This is its biggest asset. Her performance and her vibe and the fact that she’s from Oklahoma is so funny to me, because I grew up in North Texas and I haven’t seen any of that lying around, like this kind of artists. We think people are locked into these [categories] and we are not. It was really interesting to see all 56 states and territories expressing that. There are a lot of different moods everywhere and I thought that was really cool.
Thank you so much to everyone working behind the scenes! The songwriters, my fellow contestants, my friends, family and loved ones…Zanybros & ZB Label…and my fellow Oklahomans – thank you for supporting me!! AI TROOPERS I LOVE YOU!#AmericanSongContest #AleXaOnASC pic.twitter.com/8foJyH96w4
— Alexa ❤️👑 (@AleXa_ZB) May 10, 2022
As part of Alexa’s reward for her win, she will perform on The Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 15, and iHeartRadio had pledged to play its winning song all summer. “Wonderland” is written by Moa (Cazzi Opeia) Carlebecke, Andreas Carlsson, Albin Nordqvist, Ellen Ber and Bekuh Boom.
To discuss the future of American song contest and analyze season 1, Billboard met executive producer Christer Björkman, whose credits include producing the Eurovision Song Contest and Swedish heat for Eurovision, festival of melodies.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with the show. The production value of all the acts and artists and the finale was amazing. I met all my expectations. I wish the view count was higher, but we’ve always said, it’s not a fast thing, this one. It’s different from all the other shows in the US and takes some getting used to. So hopefully we can do it again.