Lindsay Ell says she needs to connect to a song before she covers it, but the "Criminal" singer doesn't necessarily need to feel the lyrics. Her rendition of a Michael Jackson classic for RISERS is equal parts nostalgia and admiration.

Ell chose "The Way You Make Me Feel" as her solo cover song during a recent video shoot at the ToC studios and explained that yeah, the King of Pop had a big influence on her growing up. Her parents would play all kinds of music at home when she was young, from classic rock to bluegrass to pop.

"I was always just infatuated with the way Michael Jackson performed," Ell says. "It was after watching (2009 documentary) This Is It when I saw him talk to the band ... he would walk up to the bass player and be like 'No, it needs to be a little more like this.' And then walk up to the guitar player and be, 'OK, play a little more like this.' He just understood every element of a live show."

"I’m just fascinated with how brilliant Michael was," she adds.

Ell uses foot pedals and guitar loops to lay down the bass and rhythm guitar parts in her version, allowing her to sing and solo as necessary. The performance was shot in a single take — it's the kind of thing fans may hope to see when she takes the stage during a headlining tour in October. Like Jackson, she found some extra swagger on this day. The video was shot on the nine-year anniversary of his death.

Ell is Taste of Country's second RISER of 2018, following Devin Dawson and a 2017 cast that included Brett Young, Runaway June and Kalie Shorr. The next Taste of Country RISER will be revealed next month.

Lindsay Ell Is a One-Woman RockStar With This "Criminal" Performance

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