Why Michael Bolton is representing Connecticut on ‘American Song Contest’


In the ultimate, vein-popping vocal test, ’90s pop icon Michael Bolton has seen and heard many an attempt to belt out one of his big ballads on TV’s singing competitions.

“I do enjoy artists performing my songs on those shows,” Bolton, 69, told The Post, noting that a certain Grammy-winning hit of his has been a go-to song choice. “ ‘How Am I Supposed to Live Without You’ has been [performed by] so many different artists going into their last round … So I think I would have fared pretty well on those shows.” 

Now, in fact, Bolton is crooning in competition on NBC’s “American Song Contest,” and he will be performing his original tune “Beautiful World” on this Monday’s semifinals (8 p.m.) Based on the long-running European juggernaut “Eurovision,” the show — which, hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg, premiered in March— has pit representatives from all 50 states, five US territories and Washington, DC for the title of Best Original Song. And while most of the contestants have been relative unknowns, they have gone up against established stars such as Jewel and Sisqo — who have already been eliminated — as well as Bolton, who has been repping his home state of Connecticut.

Michael Bolton will compete in the semifinals of NBC’s “American Song Contest” on Monday.
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“I find it funny that people are not sure what I’m doing in the contest,” said the New Haven native. “I was excited to do it. It’s kind of brought me back to my roots in trying to create something that I think the world will enjoy … You learn, aspiring to be an artist in this business, that there are a lot of great singers out there, but they don’t have careers if they don’t have hit songs. Songwriting is the source of energy that keeps artists alive. It doesn’t just create careers but perpetuates careers.”

Bolton — who saw “very little” of “Eurovision” before signing on to do “American Song Contest” — was inspired to write the utopian ballad “Beautiful World” as a song “that very much spoke to the times and the emotional duress that we’re all under … It’s not meant to suggest that somebody’s going to wave the wand and all of a sudden everything’s going to be beautiful. To the contrary, we’re the ones who have to make it a beautiful world.”

Michael Bolton belting it out during his ’90s heyday in 1991.
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And the father of three and grandfather of six — who now lives in Fairfield County, Conn. — is proud to give some love back to the state that supported him as a struggling young artist. “During the time when I was playing clubs to put food on the table, there were a lot of places to play in Connecticut, and they would bring me in time and time again,” said Bolton, who will return to “my stomping grounds” to play Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville on May 6 . “So I hope I do Connecticut proud.”

Although Bolton says that he “rarely” misses the long hair he used to rock in the ’90s, he’s learned to have some fun with the romantic-balladeer image that led him to have “Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special” on Netflix in 2017 and co-host “The Celebrity Dating Game” on ABC in 2021.

“Actually,” he said, “I enjoy it more by not taking myself too seriously.”

Although he “rarely” misses his ’90s long hair, Michael Bolton has learned to have fun with his romantic-balladeer image.
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