Cam Anthony on Showtime at the Apollo
Photo: Fox Broadcasting

You ever see a young person—I’m talking children and teenagers—sing something so knowingly and soulfully that you wonder what they experienced in a past life to give them that much feeling?

There are young people who can take a song our mamas and daddies used to play over and over again on a Saturday morning and put as much woeful spirit into it as any blues singer that has lived a lifetime of heartache.

Such is the case of 16-year-old Cam Anthony, who was named the winner of Fox’s Showtime at the Apollo Thursday night after his rendition of the Bill Withers classic “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

That boy sang that song like he was missing a lover. He sang it like he knows loving her is wrong, but he just don’t want to be right. He sang it like he has lived it. His performance was amazing.

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It reminded me of when a 9-year-old Countess Vaughn—before we ever head of Brandy or Moesha—displayed her singing chops week after week on Star Search, beating out all her competition.

Young people singing the hell out of grown folks’ music will always be entertaining and amazing to me.