How American Song Contest's Grant Knoche Felt About Representing Texas In Front Of Kelly Clarkson

Spoilers ahead for the third episode of American Song Contest on NBC

American Song Contest showcased another batch of performers from across the United States and its territories, and it was a special night for co-host Kelly Clarkson in particular. From the very beginning of the hour, she was hyping the debut of the singer who would represent her home state of Texas. Grant Knoche took the stage on behalf of the Lone Star State, and was in fact the first performer of the night. Knoche weighed in on what it was like to go first and represent Clarkson’s state.

Grant Knoche took the stage to sing “Mr. Independent,” and he was the first of the twelve performers who would debut their original songs in the third episode. He spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets following the live broadcast, and he shared what it was to go first:

Oh my gosh. So with going first, I kind of had mixed feelings going on. Because the nerves are building up, and you just go for it and do it. But also afterwards, I just kind of get to sit and relax and just enjoy the rest of the performances. And it's kind of a little bit of relief, you know, but also getting to watch everyone. It was so good to see everyone's performance on stage. So it was mixed emotions, for sure. And to rep Kelly Clarkson's state like, oh my gosh, that's huge. I saw she posted on Instagram today, about Texas and about the show. So that was definitely cool. Getting to meet her was amazing.

Even on top of her success as a music superstar from Texas, Kelly Clarkson has a strong presence in the music competition TV genre. In addition to her American Idol win, she serves as a coach on The Voice (which also featured her ASC co-host Snoop Dogg back in Season 20). Previous American Song Contest contestants Kelsey Lamb and Alisabeth Von Presley already shared how much it meant to them to get feedback from Clarkson; it’s safe to say that Grant Knoche did Clarkson and the state of Texas proud. 

Of course, any longtime Kelly Clarkson fan probably remembered right away that she released a song called "Miss Independent" many years ago. So, did Grant Knoche deliberately plan "Mr. Independent" as an homage to his fellow Texan's song, before seeing her Instagram post? He explained on the virtual red carpet: 

It's really crazy how much of a coincidence it was too, because I knew I was going to be a part of the show, and that song I wrote like a year and a half ago. So after I was a part of it, they announced that Kelly was going to be the host, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, she's Texas. 'Miss Independent.'' Everything kind of aligned. It was super cool to be part of it.

It was a fun twist of fate that Knoche came on American Song Contest with “Mr. Independent,” as "Miss Independent" was one of Kelly Clarkson's songs from her first album back in 2003 after winning the first season of American Idol. His song definitely went in a different direction than Clarkson’s, and may just pack enough of a punch to earn him a spot in the next stage of ASC competition. In case you missed it – or just want to watch it again – take a look at Grant Knoche’s performance!

If you want to see more of Grant Knoche on American Song Contest, you can start voting for him now. At this point, Tyler Braden of Tennessee is the only Week 3 performer who is guaranteed to move on to the next stage thanks to winning the jury select. To vote for Knoche from home, you can do so via, the NBC app, and TikTok until voting closes at 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, April 6. 

Nobody is necessarily safe from elimination on American Song Contest without the jury advancement, if the elimination of Ohio’s Macy Gray is any indication. She brought some of the greatest star power to the series, but unlike Michael Bolton in the previous week, she was not advanced to the next round. Jewel – who returned to music competition TV with ASC after winning Season 6 of The Masked Singer – was the biggest star in Week 3. 

Be sure to tune in on Monday, April 12 to see whether Jewel (and Grant Knoche) advance in American Song Contest, and check out the 2022 TV schedule for more viewing options moving forward. You can also revisit previous episodes of ASC streaming with a Peacock subscription.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).