Billboard and Samsung Galaxy have kicked off Billboard NXT, a first-of-its-kind singing competition designed to discover the next great unsigned artist, by selecting 12 multi-talented artists from across the country based on their performances in a hashtag challenge on TikTok. With the competitors selected and ready to show off their skills, each artist was asked to participate in the first official challenge of Billboard NXT: an original song showdown.
Using their Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G — a phone designed for capturing moments, expressing yourself and socializing — each contestant showed off their vocals, songwriting abilities and technical skills by performing a fully original song. All 12 artists delivered, with each contestant approaching the first Billboard NXT challenge with their own style and flair and showcasing intricate harmonies, powerful vocals and impressive lyrics.
The 12 contestants will be ranked weekly on a custom Billboard chart based on the competition challenges, and the three top-performing artists will become finalists and be paired with one of three superstar celebrity mentors: Charli XCX, Anitta and Todrick Hall. Each will perform at the competition’s Grand Finale, a livestreamed event on Billboard.com, and the winner will receive a Billboard cover, a music video, studio time to record a first single and tickets to the Billboard Music Awards.
Check out each original song performance below, and follow along with the competition to see which artist will level up thanks to Billboard and Samsung Galaxy!
Amir Brandon, “Cry In The Shower”
@amirbrandonI’m in the top 12 for the @billboardnxt contest! #ad For round 1, here’s my performance of my new song, Cry in the Shower. @SamsungUS♬ original sound – Amir Brandon
“If you have ever bawled your eyes out in the shower over somebody, this song is for you,” Amir Brandon said before belting out “Cry In The Shower,” a catchy pop track that highlights Brandon’s powerhouse vocals.
Betty Reed, “Without You”
@bettyreed.musicMy first @billboardnxt + @samsungus Submission is live! ##ad Check Out my original song + like/comment to show that I should be ##BillboardNXT♬ original sound – Betty Reed
Betty Reed fingerpicked through “Without You,” an uplifting track about going for what you want: “When somebody tells you you can’t,” she says, “you tell them, ‘I absolutely can.’”
Bronze Avery, “Pitch Black”
@bronzeavery##ad PITCH BLACK ✦ // this is my original song and the first challenge for @BillboardNXT + @samsungus ##ad ##BillboardNXT♬ original sound – BRONZE AVERY
Bronze Avery delivered a gut-wrenching original breakup song, “Pitch Black,” by stacking his vocals and making sure its catchy hook was placed front and center.
Celia Inside, “I Insist”
@celiainsideMy @billboardnxt + @samsungus submission for Challenge 1 is now LIVE! #ad this is not a prank!♬ I Insist – Celia Inside
Filmed in front of a scenic beach backdrop, Celia Inside spotlighted her accessible lyrics over a hip-hop beat on her track, “I Insist.”
James The Seventh, “Turn A Blind Eye”
@jamestheseventh##ad Here is my submission for the @billboardnxt original song challenge ##billboardNXT ##ad @samsungus♬ original sound – James the Seventh
James the Seventh delivered an enchanting soft rock track, “Turn A Blind Eye,” complete with dreamy lyrics and captivating vocals over some stripped-back guitar.
Jayne Rio, “100 MPH”
@jaynerio100 MPH is a song I wrote about letting go and just going for it, so it feels right to use for the @billboardnxt Original Challenge @samsungus #ad♬ original sound – Jayne Rio
Jayne Rio showed off her powerful pipes on her piano-led song, “100 MPH,” which is about letting go of doubt and “just going for it.”
@jordanoccasionally#ad #ad, i hope I make it to the nxt round! @billboardnxt @samsungus #billboardnxt #contest♬ original sound – jordan_occasionally
Complete with stylish dance beats and layered vocals, Jordan Occasionally’s clip was also used to show off their engaging personality — all smiles in the first challenge.
Mackenzie Johnson, “Not The Same”
@mackenziemusic26#ad Here’s my submission for the @billboardnxt + @samsungus Original Song Challenge! Like, comment, & share to help me become #BillboardNXT♬ original sound – MackenzieMusic
Featuring Mackenzie Johnson softly strumming her guitar over emotionally charged lyrics, “Not The Same” is all about falling in love after heartbreak.
@mreensHere’s my submission for the @billboardnxt Original Song Challenge @samsungus ##ad Written and produced by mreens 🙂♬ original sound – mreens
mreen’s self-produced original track “Sweeter” demonstrated not only her impressive harmonies, but her understanding of ‘90s-inspired R&B.
Serpenta, “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time”
@serpentamusicHere’s my entry for the @billboardnxt original song challenge @samsungus ##ad♬ original sound – serpentamusic
Serpenta’s “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” made for a luxurious diss track aimed at the haters: “It’s about showing manipulators that they just aren’t as slick as they honestly think they are,” she said.
Sophie Marks, “Coisa Linda”
@sophiemarksmusichere’s my submission of my song “coisa linda” for the @BillboardNXT Original Song Challenge @SamsungUS #ad #billboardnxt♬ Lazy Sunday – Official Sound Studio
Sophie Marks incorporated Portuguese and English into her addicting track “Coisa Linda,” spotlighting her heritage along with her smooth vocals and a danceable chorus.
Soukhya, “I Gave It All To You”
@soukhyaa#ad My @billboardnxt + @samsungus submission for the Original Song Challenge ! Like & Comment to show that I’m #BillboardNXT♬ original sound – SOUKHYA
“I Gave It All To You” is an upbeat pop track that pairs Soukhya’s unique combination of pristine vocals and gut-wrenching lyrics.