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The Next: Week One - Orlando Sing-Off


Check out the winning performance
from Michael Ray during Week 1 of The Next in Orlando. Michael Ray sang “Springsteen” made famous by Eric Church.


In the premiere episode of The Next, music superstars Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, Nelly and John Rich immersed themselves into the lives of up-and-coming local musicians in Orlando to help them achieve their dreams. Gloria surprised her contestant, Cori, at a boat party, and taught her how to deal with her stage fright. Did we mention there was a riding lawn mower involved? Joe brought Tayler out of her comfort zone by having her perform material outside her normal musical repertoire. Meanwhile, Nelly put Itzy on the spot, making her perform in front of her customers at work.  And John got comfortable in Michael’s personal space, all while giving him the tools he needed for an unforgettable performance – cowboy boots included.


To get the latest news and updates for The Next and Cricket, as well as musical updates from Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, John Rich and Nelly, follow Cricket on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to check back here every week for episode highlights and videos of each week’s performances, as your favorite contestants work towards earning a spot in the live finale of The Next!

The Contestants
Week 1 - Orlando

Michael Ray

Age: 24 Hometown: Eustis, FL

Michael is a singer and musician who calls himself a “good ole Southern boy”.  He grew up singing with his musician grandfather.  A prolific songwriter in his own right, Michael has opened for numerous acts including Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Jake Owen, Brantley Gilbert, among others.  Michael, as a solo act, has sold out the House of Blues Orlando four times in a row.


In Week 1 Michael was mentored by John Rich and performed the song Springsteen by Eric Church


Tayler Buono

Age: 18 Hometown: Orlando, FL

Tayler, a recent high school graduate, has been developing her music career with the help of her supportive parents and community.  Tayler is a singer/songwriter who also plays the guitar and creates her own music videos that have an enormous following on YouTube.


In Week 1 Tayler was mentored by Joe Jonas and performed the song Secrets by One Republic



Age: 26 Hometown: Orlando, FL

Born in Puerto Rico, Itzy started singing at the age of 4, following in the footsteps of her Mom.  Itzy received an award from the government of Puerto Rico for her performance on a local talent show.  Itzy performs locally most nights with her band and during the day works as a sales clerk for a sunglass store.


In Week 1 Itzy was mentored by Nelly and performed the song Firework by Katy Perry


Cori Yarckin

Age: 29 Hometown: Orlando, FL

Cori has been featured as one of Rolling Stones ‘Top 5 Up and coming Female Artists”  With over 7 million song plays, 4 million profile views and over 200,000 friends on her MySpace music page, Cori’s profile grew virally. She has performed live on MTV’s “TRL”.  She has also released records and performed in Japan where she has a huge following.  Cori has opened for the Jonas Brothers, Soul Asylum and 30 Seconds to Mars to name just a few.


In week 1 Cori was mentored by Gloria Estefan and performed the song Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga