American Idol Season 11 is close to naming its winner, but Idol judge Steven Tyler--Aerosmith's lead singer--is singing the praises of another budding artist who isn't even a contestant on the popular reality show.
Friday, Tyler crashed a Yahoo! Music interview with Jay-Z's new protégé Rita Ora, specifically to greet the U.K. singer who is making her U.S. debut. When Tyler noticed Ora sitting on a bench in the garden of a swank West Hollywood hotel, he stopped by to say hello. Tyler was among the music industry A-listers at Ora's showcase Thursday night at the Viper Room.
Tyler said Ora was a great new artist because "she can sing," he said matter of factly. "Finally, someone that can sing."
Tyler said that Ora had what it takes to be a contender on American Idol. "Oh my God. That's all I ever looked for was someone that could sing, carry a melody, because that's the it of it all," he said. "That's how you climb inside of people with rhythm, but also melody. And you got it."
Tyler said he loves Ora's new song "How We Do (Party)" and its accompanying video--and then began singing the chorus that interpolates the Notorious B.I.G. song "Party And Bullsh*t."
Excited to learn that they were staying at the same hotel, Tyler and Ora also talked fashion accessories, comparing notes on their rings.
"You're beating me in the ring game," Ora said, teasing Tyler.
But Tyler was impressed with Ora's taste. "Oh, look it, Loree Rodin?" he said as he pointed to one of Ora's pieces from the famous designer who made Michelle Obama's inauguration jewelry.
Last week, Ora released the video for "How We Do (Party)," her first U.S. single, a fun pop record reminiscent of Katy Perry. The song is quickly moving up the top 40 pop charts.
In March, Jay-Z walked Ora into radio stations to preview her music. Her first U.K. release "RIP" was written by Drake and features U.K. rapper Tinie Tempah, and her "Hot Right Now" collaboration with DJ Fresh has more than 18 million YouTube plays.
Ora has worked with will.i.am, The-Dream and Ester Dean on her forthcoming debut album.