Credit: Facebook Photo: American Idol Contestant Erika Van Pelt Looks Sultry in Hoodie

American Idol Season 11 contestant Erika Van Pelt is a 26-year-old singer/songwriter from South County, Rhode Island. Born and Raised in Providence, Erika’s childhood was chock-full of musical experiences; her father is a trained acoustic guitarist and her mother is obsessed with Broadway show tunes, according to Erika’s official website. At the wee age of 7, Erika began singing solo in the adult church choir.

Erika’s love of singing has been a constant throughout her life since childhood. In high school, Erika placed first in the state for several years in a row in the Jazz Choir. Later, the blonde crooner attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying a bevy of styles of music as well as production and sound engineering.

Today, Erika has a successful career as a DJ for private events. In the summers, Erika brings her sultry altro to the sought-after wedding band The Sultans of Swing, a popular wedding band based on Martha’s Vineyard. Check out Erika’s MySpace page for a few original songs as well as some older covers — including one of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”

Erika auditioned for Season 11 in Pittsburgh, singing Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and charming judges with her plucky attitude and pastel plaid outfit. In the Season 11 semifinals, Erika belted Heart's "What About Love" and earned raves from the judges. For her Top 13 performance, Erika took on Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You and Me," and for her Top 12 pick, Erika chose Bryan Adams' "Heaven." During the Top 10, Erika went from blonde to a dark black hairstyle. 

Source: Official Erika Van Pelt Website, The Martha’s Vineyard Times, MySpace

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Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Erika Van Pelt Perform “Don’t You Remember” in American Idol 2012 Final Judgment Part 1 on February 22
Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Erika Van Pelt Sing “What About Love” in American Idol 2012 Semifinals on February 29
Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Erika Van Pelt Sing Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” During American Idol 2012 Wild Card Finals on March 1
Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Erika Van Pelt Perform “Don’t You Remember” in American Idol 2012 Final Judgment Part 1 on February 22
Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Erika Van Pelt Sing Whitney Houston’s “I Believe In You and Me” in American Idol 2012’s Top 13 on March 7
Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Erika Van Pelt Sing Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” in American Idol’s Top 12 on March 14, 2012
Credit: YouTube Photo: Watch Erika Van Pelt Sing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” in American Idol’s Top 10 on March 21, 2012