The BET Awards on Sunday featured the usual onslaught of forgettable awards tethered to bombastic performances from the age’s most brilliant and intense artists. Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs reunited his monstrous Family for a Bad Boy anniversary medley; Alicia Keys’s duet with The Weeknd moved mountains; and Janet Jackson descended from her billionaire husband’s ivory tower to collect hardware for the arbitrary Ultimate Icon: Music Dance Visual Award.
Lost in the shuffle, 19-year-old former Voice contestant and Vine star Avery Wilson showcased his range and talent with a stunning rendition of new single, “If I Have To.” Or at least the first 90 seconds or it before BET faded to commercial.
“If I Have To” has a Sam Smith ceiling and sneaks past all of Smith’s corpus as a pop song. It packs Titanic-grade schmaltz—a song that sounds like it could be about undying devotion or inconsolable loss or Jesus. (I think it’s about Jesus.)
It could work with any number of R&B singers, but Wilson’s scorned high notes evoke instant waterworks. There’s sorrow and dramatics, Wilson’s is a voice that can act.
As a Web star, Wilson has more than 1 million Vine followers. It’s a space where he routinely shows what he can do.
Go ahead and bet on Wilson’s tremendous upside.
Screengrab via AveryWilsonVEVO/YouTube