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NBC Insider American Song Contest

Meet Hueston, the American Song Contest Jury-Selected Artist From Rhode Island

His song "Held On Too Long" floored viewers. 

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe

Week 1 of NBC's American Song Contest is officially on the books. During the March 21st premiere, we saw 11 out of the 56 Artists compete, each revealing their own original song. (The show is modeled after Eurovision, with each Artist representing either a U.S. state, territory, or Washington D.C. They're all putting forth a track that they hope will be crowned Best Original Song by the end of the show.) From the Grammy-winning Michael Bolton (representing Connecticut) to Oklahoma's K-Pop sensation AleXA, the Acts brought their own unique style and energy to the live broadcast. But one stood out from the rest—for now.

Rhode Island's soulful Hueston and his song "Held On Too Long" won the Qualifying Round's first Jury vote at the end of the broadcast. This means he automatically advances to the Semi-Finals, which will air on April 25 and May 2. Fans and the Jury will vote to send three additional Artists into the Semi-Finals, with the results being revealed in next week's episode. 

@americansongcontest You'll get chills listening to "Held On Too Long" by Rhode Island's @Hueston. 🎤 #AmericanSongContest ♬ Held On Too Long (From “American Song Contest”) - Hueston

According to his website, the singer is currently based in Florida and was formerly the lead singer of the indie/alternative duo, The Blancos. However, Hueston became a solo Artist in 2021 and released his first EP, Orbs.

During the show, Hueston explained that he wrote "Held On Too Long" as a dedication to his home state. "People think it's just coastlines and tennis and, you know, sailboats," he said. "That's not the Rhode Island I came from. The Rhode Island I came from is different, it's a lot rougher. Not a lot of money. There's a lot of pain, a lot of people that I grew up with that didn't make it to be my age. That's where I came from, and that's who I'm singing to."

You can stream "Held On Too Long" on Spotify right now. ASC airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.