America Put Him in the Boy Band

Shaker Heights native Michael Conor makes it on ABC’s “Boy Band”

Former Shaker Heights High School student Michael Conor asked America to put him in the boy band. And America delivered for the 18-year-old rapper.

Over the summer, Michael Conor starred in “Boy Band,” a reality TV competition that starts with 30 contestants culminates in the formation of a five-member boy band. Over the course of eight weeks, he remained on the show with the help of audience votes in his favor and decisions made by the judges, known on the show as “architects.”

Though he used the stage name “Michael Conor” on the show, Shaker students and teachers know him better as Conor Smith.

Michael Conor said he wants to thank the Shaker community for helping to “put [him] in the Boy Band.”

He thanked Shaker faculty members for all their support. “My counselor, David Peake, has always been a huge supporter of mine. He’s someone who always understood that I had different goals than the typical high school student,” he said.

Smith also thanked his orchestra teacher, Donna Jelen. “I wasn’t the best student,” he said, “but orchestra was a class that brought out my confidence.”

Jelen said that she is “in awe of his talent, his genius, his creativity, his grit and the fact that he discovered and nurtured his own passion.”

Jelen added that, while she does not usually watch TV, she avidly watched “Boy Band” every Thursday night this past summer. “During the final window, I cast over 10,000 votes on eight devices,” she said.

She urged the rest of the Shaker teaching community to do the same, but she wasn’t the only one in Shaker encouraging others to vote for Michael Conor.

Shaker Heights City Schools’ Twitter page, @shakerschools, even tweeted to encourage the community to vote, in addition to promoting him on Facebook.

“One of our teachers told me that she went into the high school computer lab and voted 1,000 times on each computer,” Jelen said.

Smith and the rest of In Real Life are now under a recording contract with Hollywood Records. The record label has signed artists like Queen and Selena Gomez, along with other stars.

The band already released their first song, “Eyes Closed,” which, on Aug. 25, cracked the top 10 in the U.S. charts after being available for one night.

“Right now, the band is focused on promoting the new single and working on future music as well. We’re going to be travelling all over the country to push the single and establish ourselves as a group,” Michael Conor said.

While he has a promising career to look forward to, Michael Conor also said that “there will be periods of time where we all get to visit our hometowns and spend time with family and friends, so I’m definitely looking forward to coming home.”

The week prior to the show’s finale episode, viewers voted for the contestants they wanted to be in the boy band. The finale episode revealed the five members of the new band, chosen from the remaining eight contestants. The show dramatically revealed Smith fifth, as the final member of the band.

On the first episode of “Boy Band,” Smith freestyled his own rap for the judges. One memorable line in the rap is “I’m like, ‘America, put me in the Boy Band.’”

And that’s exactly what America did.


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