When “Crazy Rich Asians” came out in 2018, it took the world by storm. The blockbuster movie was a hit with colourful characters, a glitzy, glamorous rom-com plot, and of course— an absolute banger of an opening.
Cheryl Koh, better known as Cheryl K, was the vocals behind the cover of “Money (That’s What I Want)” by Barrett Strong. Recently, she took to “American Idol” to audition in front of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
“As a Malaysian, when we were growing up, ‘American Idol’ was always impressive and many of us have joked about making it to that stage someday,” said Cheryl. “Knowing how much exposure and a challenge it is coming from Southeast Asia to compete on a platform like this, I knew it would help me grow as a singer and hopefully take me to the next level.”
The 25-year-old Shah Alam-native was featured in this week’s episode, where she sang in front of the superstar judges. She got to perform a duet of “Endless Love” with Lionel Richie, and even got an autograph from him on her original copy of his 1981 vinyl with Diana Ross. Although she didn’t make it to the next round, she left an impact on Lionel Richie, as evident by his tweet; “You brought tears and wonderful memories to my eyes today on ‘American Idol’.”
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) March 8, 2021
Cheryl is currently based in Los Angeles, pursuing a career in music. She graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration and a minor in music industry in 2017. After making it with her cover of “Money (That’s What I Want)” in “Crazy Rich Asians”, she released three self-written and co-written singles “Here to Stay”, “who are you”, and “Better”. Recently, she collaborated with Guy Tang, Netflix’s “Bling Empire” star. The duet, “Ready2Love” was released on 26th February.
In 2019, she was the opening act and special guest for the Grand Finale of the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA). That wasn’t her first time in the Olympics-style competition for performing arts. In 2010, she represented Malaysia and won four gold medals, including a Hollywood Industry award.
While the loss might have felled some, Cheryl is still looking to the future. As she stated on her Instagram, “This is only the beginning.”
Watch her full audition video here: