The Kosovo native, whose parents are war refugees who say they fled their country after winning a “green card lottery,” wowed the judges on Thursday night’s episode with a roof-raising performance of Jessie J’s “Price Tag.”
The audience — made up her competition, by the way — were on their feet. “Idol” Judge Nicki Minaj even gave our hometown girl a standing ovation.
“Every now and then we get somebody who knows who they are and picks the right song…It’s effortless, it’s clear, it’s energetic. You have such a good light about you and I’ve seen it consistently with all of your performances. I loved it and I think you’ve got a good shot,” Keith Urban, who is also a judge this season, said after Melinda’s performance.
You go (to the semifinals), girl!
Maybe it’s all the practice Melinda had singing locally. The soulful singer has performed at the Kensico Dam, belted out the national anthem at her Yonkers High School graduation last year (where we snapped this photo, left), and even competed in the “Yonkers Idol” competition at the Nodine Hill Community Center in 2009. She was 15 years old at the time.
And this isn’t the first time she has competed on “American Idol” either. Melinda was cut during the Hollywood round last season, but she hopes the second time will be a charm as she moves further along in the competition. If she makes it to the top 24, she will compete for viewer votes on live performance episodes.
During an interview with AmericanIdol.com, Melinda revealed why she feels she could win it all. “I work hard. I believe that I have fairly good stage presence and I just want to do great things,” she said. See more from her “Golden Ticket Interview” below.
And here’s a video of Melinda’s first “American Idol” audition in 2011.
Get another taste of her talent as she sings Coldplay’s “The Scientist.”