While many of the American Idol 2013 hopefuls say they’ve been singing their whole lives, Rowland Heights native Elijah Liu admits he’s only been singing for about a year and a half.

"It started off as a hobby and grew into a passion," the half Chinese, half Mexican singer told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "Senior year I did that talent show and that's how I broke out of my shell."

The handsome 18-year-old, who also plays the guitar, piano, and ukulele, admits he’s never had any vocal training, other than listening to the radio. Knowing practice makes perfect, Elijah took to YouTube, posting videos of himself singing popular covers from a studio in his bedroom.

Elijah said he is influenced by pop and R & B music “with soul,” which apparently inspired his Twitter handle, #Souljah. His music influences are current artists, like Rihanna, Drake, and Frank Ocean, which is what the American Idol 2013 judges love about him.

In Las Vegas, the tiny, well-dressed and well-coiffed singer, who made it to the Las Vegas round last year, took on Bruno Mars’ “Listen To The Moon”. The judges love his current vibe and marketability. Although they didn’t think it was the best vocal, Nicki Minaj told him, "I would sign you today, you have the most marketable face and voice that I've seen today and you are ready now."

The college student, who is studying business administration, is likely hoping to catapult his career in order to help his family, as he is one of six kids. As he told The Tribune, "My family never grew up with the best of financial situations so that really humbled me and made me even more grateful for this great blessing of `Idol."'

So how did Elijah Liu do in the Season 12 semi-finals? Will he make it to the Top 10? Watch Elijah’s American Idol 2013 semi-finals performance video below and share what you think!

Credit: FOX Photo: Watch Elijah Liu Sing “Stay” in American Idol 2013 Guys Semi-Finals