Leah Guerrero is one of many American Idol contestants who heard a “no” from Harry Connick Jr. when she auditioned.
But Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez enjoyed her cover of Rihaanna’s “Stay” enough to advance her to Hollywood.
“Getting the golden ticket was emotional,” Leah says in her Road to Hollywood video. “I cried. I cried all my makeup off. It was all down my face. My mom cried forever.
“When Harry Connick Jr. said no, I think all my hope went out the window after that. So when Jennifer Lopez said yes … well, it was very exciting.”
The 21-year-old file clerk from Clinton Township, Mich., says her musical influences include Amy Winehouse, Beyonce and Rihanna.
But she also says she comes from a musical family. Her father is in a rock band, her uncle is in a Mexican band and her grandmother is “a great singer.”
“I think the fact that I can do so many different things and so many different genres works to my advantage,” she says of her prospects on Idol. “I’m the next American Idol because I come from nothing and I am going to be something. I want people to know my story and know things are not impossible and you can do it if you really motivate yourself and believe in yourself. And that goes for anything, not just singing.”
I’ve embedded a couple of videos of her singing below. You can find more on her YouTube channel.
For profiles of more than 90 other Season 13 contestants, head here.
“Halo” (Beyonce cover)
“Me and Mr. Jones” (Amy Winehouse cover)