Thousands upon thousands auditioned for Season 2 of American Idol 2019 with hopes of making in in front of the celebrity judges, and you can add Tampa’s own R&B Princess, Zariya McClary to that list. Zariya initially auditioned in Miami, FL. She later traveled to Coer D’Alene, Idaho to audition in front of the celebrity judges.

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Zariya (pronounced za-ree-yah) announced last month on her Facebook page that she auditioned for Season 2. American Idol returned to ABC on Sunday, March 3 with the season’s first audition episode.

Here’s more about American Idol Contestant Zariya aka Skittles.

* Her full name is Zariya McClary, though in the music world she has been known simply as Zariya and most recently she is known to American Idol fans as, Skittles. She is just 16 years old and has been singing since the age of 5. Her Father is a professional Gospel singer, T.Pooh McClary of the Stellar Award nominated quartet, Pooh and The Inspirations. Zariya says her Dad’s music was her earliest influence.

* Her social media profiles describe Zariya as a teenage vocal phenom, songwriter, dancer, and aspiring actress. 

* Zariya has shared the stage with legends such as Angie Stone,with whom she sang a duet live on stage with at a concert in Atlanta last year. She has also opened for R&B Stars, Brandy, Bobby Valentino, K. Michelle, Amara LaNegra, Tobe Nwigwe, Soulja Boy, and KeKe Wyatt.

* Zariya released her debut single “Let It Go” in 2018. The song was only for promotional purposes and was her introduction to the music industry as a professional. She was just 15 years old at the time.

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* Zariya spent most of 2018 touring the Country, performing and perfecting her craft in front of large audiences. Zariya’s career really began to soar once she signed a management deal with music maven Mimi Jones and the legendary Ian Burke (creator of TLC). Zariya also gives credit to her talented writing team, “The Kollective” which includes songwriters who have worked with top brands and recording artists.

* Zariya has been compared vocally to Beyonce, Lauryn Hill, Monica, and even a young Aretha Franklin. While Zariya appreciates the comparisons, she prides herself on her unique vocal style and tone. She sang "Versace On The Floor" by Bruno Mars and "Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston for the Celebrity Judges and received 3 YES's.

* Zariya has started a hair trend in every city she has visited. Her rainbow colored braids turn heads wherever she goes. Zariya makes no apologies for her bold look. “I’m bold and I am living my dream out loud and proud. I want people to know that before I even open my mouth. I came to win, I came to shine, and I most definitely came to put on a show”

* As for Idol, Zariya has only one desire. “I want to get that Golden Ticket to Hollywood. That would make every single thing I went through so worth it. It would validate me as a true artist and a competitor.” With that said Zariya receieved that Golden Ticket and advanced to Hollywood Week as a favorite. Her audition was not aired and there is much speculation as to why. It was rumored that she was one of the best vocalist to audition for Season 2, so maybe politics are to blame. In any case you should get to know Zariya aka Skittles more and judge for yourself/

Anyone wanting to see more of Zariya should follow her on Instagram and Facebook @OfficiallyZariya.

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