Kiara Lanier: an MU student who has recently joined American Idol 2013. Photo courtesy of

So maybe it’s been a while since you tuned into Idol, but how often does it feature one of Columbia’s own?  Kiara Lanier is an MU junior who took her vocal talent (and oh-so-sassy fashion sense) to the American Idol Chicago auditions on the 16th. One “I-love-you-Mariah” and rendition of “the Prayer” later, the Chicago native had secured herself a ticket to Hollywood and a spot on the show.

But this wasn’t Lanier first flirtation with fame; the 22-year-old also sang at President Obama’s birthday fundraiser in the fall of 2012. Before that, Lanier was known in the Columbia community as the vocalist for the local band, the House Guests.

What makes Kiara an Idol-worthy performer? The judges were wowed by her vocal control and ability to play with dynamics but those who have seen her perform in Columbia say that her star power transcends the realm of reality TV. “She definitely has stage presence,” says Alex Heck, who is friends with Kiara and her bandmates. “She was always very confident on stage and it showed. Even if she was only playing in a college bar, it wouldn’t make a difference in her performance.”

Friends of Lanier have high hopes for the performer, but how far her talent and passion will take her in the competition remains to be seen. In an Idol interview after her audition, Lanier described the competition as an opportunity to prove that she was “made for this.”

Photo courtesy of

Although season 12 of American Idol officially kicked off with auditions in New York a few weeks ago, fans of Lanier will need to wait until Feb. 6 to see how she fares in the first Hollywood round.

As the season starts, come back to VoxTalk for updates, interviews with Kiara and commentary.

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