kenadi

During the Live Finale of America’s Got Talent Cache Valley native Kenadi Dodds, far right, performs with from left to right Julia Michaels, JP Saxe and Roberta Battaglia.

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It’s been a few days since the finals of America’s Got Talent.

Trying to sum up the experience or a favorite memory from being part of Season 15 is still hard for local teenager Kenadi Dodds to do. It certainly was a whirlwind the past two months for the Green Canyon sophomore.

Dodds has been in California for a month now as she advanced through the competition to the finals, where the top 10 acts were showcased over two nights on NBC. The country singer sang and played the guitar Tuesday night, then joined with the other finalists Wednesday to sing “Lean On Me,” where she also played the piano. She also performed with fellow top-10 finalist Roberta Battaglia, a 10-year-old singer from Toronto, Canada, and singers Julia Michaels and JP Saxe in singing their duet hit “If The World Was Ending.”

“That was amazing,” Kenadi said. “They (Michaels and Saxe) were so nice. They really included me and Roberta like we were their friends. They followed us on social media. They are really amazing. I’m glad I got them.”

So, you see the dilemma the 15-year-old daughter of Brandi and Chris Dodds of North Logan had when asked to name a favorite memory.

“I don’t know,” Kenadi said with a laugh. “The whole thing was just one huge slew of memories. One of my favorites was spending time with my dad in our hotel. We had a lot of fun.”

Kenadi’s father has been with her the whole time in California, while her mother stayed home with her younger sisters, Alexis (9) and Brooklyn (5).

“I’ve had so much fun with my dad,” Kenadi said. “We got to see the clock tower from ‘Back to the Future,’ parts of where ‘Home Alone 2’ were shot and Hogwarts. It was really cool. … But I do miss my mom and sisters.”

The experience was life-changing.

“It’s definitely been an amazing experience,” Kenadi said. “It was different in a lot of ways because of COVID and the judges not being there at times. I never would have thought that I would get so close to the other contestants. I made friendships and I’m sure we will stay in touch forever. All of the finalists are so amazing and so supportive. We definitely have a strong bond.”

Were the finals stressful?

“Yes, because I had to learn three songs in the timeframe of one week, including instruments and singing,” Kenadi said. “It was fun to do ‘Lean On Me,’ and then they asked if I could do the piano too. I was like, sure. I learned that in a day.”

But the “scariest” moment was when the top 10 was cut in half to five. Two contestants were called up at a time and one advanced, while the other was done. Kenadi and Roberta were called up together in the second-to-last pairing, as the Cache Valley teen was down to the last seven. That is where the dream of winning AGT came to an end for Kenadi.

“Roberta is so powerful and a great singer and a great girl and I’ve really loved getting to know her,” Kenadi said. “When you are up, you obviously want to win, but there is also that part where you care about the other person too. I was proud of Roberta, she did great.”

Roberta ended up finishing in fourth. Brandon Leake, a poet, won the competition and was praised by Kenadi.

While Kenadi loves to perform in front of big crowds — she has sung the National Anthem before Utah State men’s basketball games at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, sang at the Day’s of ‘47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City and performed at Green Canyon High School — this season was unique for AGT with no or very small audiences. Like the other contestants, she dealt with it.

She is spending another week in the Golden State to visit her grandparents. Then what is next for the singer and musician?

“Oh boy, I definitely want to write more songs and hopefully record an album,” Kenadi said. “I’m excited to see what the future holds. I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

She is under contract with AGT for another 30 days and isn’t sure what that will bring.

Kenadi has received a lot of support from all across the country but has a special place in her heart for those from the valley. Many from the Utah State University community have also been big supporters.

“I’ve really appreciated everyone’s support,” Kenadi said. “I miss everyone. I’m excited to see people when I get back. I’ve sang the National Anthem at a lot of the (Utah State) basketball and volleyball games, plus my parents are true-blue Aggies. A lot of my friends from GC (Green Canyon High School) that were seniors are now going to USU. I’ve had a lot of good support.”

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

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