On last night’s episode of American Idol, the judges were in Pittsburgh, PA searching for the best voice all around to compete for the title. One contestant in particular caught the attention of Puerto Rican actress/singer and Idol judge Jennifer Lopez. This contestant, 17-year-old Travis Orlando, a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent auditioned with the song “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder to receive constructive criticism and an uncertain decision from the judging panel, which includes Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler.
According to Fox News Latino, Orlando had auditioned last season and shared his story of living in a shelter, being homeless, and his father’s complicated health condition. Last year, his mother was there cheering him on, but this go-around she was absent.
“Last year after Idol aired, my mom walked out,” Orlando said. “She found another relationship that she obviously loved more than her family. That really hurt me.”
He then revealed that he dropped out of high school and that his father was being treated with dialysis.
“It’s an all of nothing thing,” Orlando pleaded with the judges. “It means a lot to me.”
Obviously touched by his story, Lopez tried to lift his spirits, while giving him some advice. “Your voice had gotten strong since last year,” she said. “But, there is a part of it that you are not coming all the way out with it. I really want you to do that.”
Orlando knew at that moment he had a lot to prove. “I’m doing this not only for myself, but to show my mom that I’m worth something,” he added. “I can do this. I’m not a good-for-nothing low life. I can do something with my life and something positive with it.”
We’ll have to look out for him in the Hollywood-week round!