'AGT' Season 17 on NBC: Who is Aubrey Burchell? Former 'American Idol' contestant was discovered on Instagram

'America's Got Talent' is bringing back a familiar face of American reality TV this week with North Huntingdon singer, Aubrey Burchell


                            'AGT' Season 17 on NBC: Who is Aubrey Burchell? Former 'American Idol' contestant was discovered on Instagram
Aubrey Burchell to return on 'America's Got Talent' Season 17 (Instagram/aubreyburchellofficial)
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Aubrey Burchell, who was among the top 70 on 'American Idol' in 2018, will compete again in Season 17 of 'America's Got Talent' on August 2. The season so far has been an emotional rollercoaster for everyone, as the participants span from singers to aerialists to contortionists to comedians and more, each with their own story to tell.

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For Season 17 of 'AGT,' Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all returned to the table. Klum, a seasoned Judge, addressed Access Hollywood in April about her experience on the show this season, which continues to surprise both her and the viewers. 21-year-old Burchell is another recognizable figure returning to the American reality stage, like our returning judges.

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Who is Aubrey Burchell?

Burchell, a vocalist from Irwin, PA, began performing in front of crowds at charity and athletic events when she was 12 years old. She began singing to recorded tracks at the Keynote Café when she was just 14 years old. She then moved to live music, which was later given by her guitarist father, Russell Burchell. Furthermore, she began writing her own songs when she was 15 years old. By the age of 19, she competed on 'American Idol' on a national level and was named an artist to watch in both City Paper and Pittsburgh Magazine's 2019 reader polls. She's now on her way to 'AGT' for a wonderful night of music! 

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She used to perform acoustic sets with her father at festivals, charities, weddings, banquet halls, restaurants, and pubs across the region. The musician has also performed the National Anthem for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Riverhounds, Pittsburgh Passion, Washington Wildthings, and Heinz Field. She has been a fixture in the Westmoreland County music scene with her projects, and in 2021 she formed an acoustic duo with Noah Myers. From R&B to pop, they combine their vocals in a repertoire of music meant to inspire and amuse. 

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Burchell's time on 'American Idol'

Burchell reached it to the solo round of 'American Idol' but her time on the show ended without her performances airing on ABC. She was among the top 70 competitors after obtaining a Golden Ticket at the local trials. Following her appearance on the show, the then-17-year-old singer studying at Norwin High School said on Facebook: “Tonight, my American Idol journey officially came to an end. Out of 300,000 people who auditioned for the show, I made it to the top 70. I will forever be thankful for this opportunity and the amazing, charismatic, and talented people that I am blessed to be able to call my friends. ... Thank you to EVERYONE who has followed and shared my journey. I couldn't ask for better supporters and I love you all DEARLY! This is not the end. It is only the beginning.”

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The 21-year-old said to hosts of the 'Broadway's Backyard' program on Y108 country music radio from Pittsburgh that 'American Idol' was the best chance she'd ever had. She said that she taped her 'American Idol' portions, in which she sang Ed Sheeran's 'Dive' during the solo round in front of the three judges — Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan — but received no feedback from them.

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Her stint on 'American Idol' was the beginning of her musical career.



 

Second opportunity on National TV

Aubrey continued to perform live in Pennsylvania, but when the pandemic struck, she had to stop and ended up working at a Target, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that "the art had gone from my life." She then performed Ray LaMontagne's 'Jolene' while sitting on the floor of a Target restroom and posted it on Instagram. “This is the only thing that makes me feel good so here’s me singing,” she wrote on the screen.

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“To be transparent.. my mental health has been at an all time low. Everyday has been an upward climb. And that’s okay. And I am getting help,” she added in the post. She continued to record her songs, but when a friend died, she struck rock bottom.

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Burchell said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that some 'AGT' talent scouts spotted her performance when she was singing while seated on the floor in Target and randomly phoned her. She was invited to appear and perform for the 'AGT' judges. She took a plane across the nation alone for the first time and traveled to the audition for the show, and she got to sing for the celebrity judges.

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The return of the music, Burchell observed, "feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. It kind of goes to show that if you’re a local artist, put yourself out there. I don’t care if you’re sitting on the bathroom floor and singing. Be seen and put stuff out there.” She continued by thanking her Facebook followers and friends. “After all the pain and suffering the last two years brought.. I’m so glad you guys supported me and encouraged me to pick myself back up! You’ll just have to see how I did when the show airs.”

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Burchell has been sharpening her chops since her time on 'American Idol,' composing songs in the R&B and pop genres and playing on weekends at bars, vineyards, and other regional venues. Whatever the result, she intends to capitalize on the exposure she will receive from 'AGT.' “I have a few of my original songs out there," she added, "I’m working on some more, since I have this opportunity. Ultimately, I’d like to make a living on my original music, and be happy and comfortable doing what I love to do."

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Are you looking forward to seeing the young talent on national television once more? Then don't forget to tune into NBC this Tuesday right at 8 pm for a brand-new episode of 'America's Got Talent.'

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For viewers who wish to tune in to the show without cable, they can do so using any of the following streaming services: Sling TV, fuboTV, Hulu With Live TV, AT&T TV or YouTube TV.