One of the keys to American Idol's success is the show's ability to paint the "rags to riches” story. Idol is meant to be a showcase for pop sensations of humble beginnings, whose shot at fame means more than just being a star but providing monetarily and emotionally for their families in dire need.
We’ve always been big softies for a heart-warming tale to accompany a stellar singing performance. But during her audition last year for American Idol Season 12, we thought Melinda Ademi's story was particularly moving.
Melinda’s success on the show really emphasizes the “American” in American Idol, as the U.S. had become a refuge for her ethnically Albanian family when it fled from their homeland, the war-torn Kosovo of the former Yugoslavian provinces. Melinda’s father spoke with Ryan Seacrest before her audition about the Ademis’ embattled origins, how he had brought the family to America on a Green Card Lottery.
Melinda’s mother also gave an on-screen interview, telling of how they have raised their children to follow “the American dream,” which Melinda herself has cited as a huge motivation in her Idol bid. The diminutive crooner expressed how lucky she felt to even have the opportunity to participate in the competition, and how she wants to shoot for the top to show her parents her appreciation for sticking through hard times to make a better life for her. Awwww!
And what’s more is Melinda rocked her audition again this season and made it all the way to the Season 12 Top 40. We were pulling for her to make it on to the Top 20, but sadly the judges weren't impressed with her Vegas performance and sent her packing.