Name: Devin Velez
Bio: For American Idol 2013 hopeful Devin Velez, singing was in the genes. His mother, Sandra Liz Lam, was a professional singer who even released a few CDs. And, as the 18-year-old contestant told the Chicago Sun Times, “My father sang back in Puerto Rico and my grandmother could carry a tune.”
“We’re always singing together,” Devin said of his mother, who is a server at Applebee’s and a choir director at New Life church in the Portage Park area of Chicago. He hasn’t been in touch with his biological father for over a decade. In fact, Devin admitted in his pre-performance package in Las Vegas that he has experienced a lot of hurt, and puts it into his music. Money, he said, was tight due to being raised by only one parent.
The Starbuck’s barista and high school student tried out for but was rejected from both The X Factor and The Voice. It’s their loss and Idol’s gain, as the judges can’t get enough of this guy.
Nicki Minaj told Devin from his very first audition that his was her favorite male voice from the tryouts. And Keith Urban has told him he was born to sing. After his performance of Beyonce’s “Listen” in Las Vegas, Randy Jackson said, “Dude, I love you -- I thought it was amazing!” Mariah Carey gushed, “I can’t wait to see what a producer does when you get in studio.”
Apparently the practical singer has a backup plan just in case his Idol dreams are dashed. He plans on attending VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. He won’t give up on music, however, saying, “I’ll pursue it until the day I die.”
American Idol Season: 12 (2013)
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Audition: Devin Velez auditioned for American Idol 2013 Season 12 in Chicago, IL. His audition was not shown, but he was given a pass to Hollywood by the judges.
Hollywood Week A Capella Round: During the guys’ Hollywood Week, Devin performed “Payphone” by Maroon 5 and was selected to move on to the group round.
Hollywood Week Group Round: During the guys' Hollywood Week, Devin’s group performance was not shown. He was chosen to move on to the solo round.
Hollywood Week Solo Round: During the guys' Hollywood Week solo round, Devin Velez performed “What a Wonderful World” by Bob Thiele (as George Douglas). The judges were wowed by the performance and he was selected to go to Vegas as part of the Top 40.
Top 40/Las Vegas Round 2: Devin performed “Listen” by Beyonce in English and Spanish during the Las Vegas sudden death rounds. Keith Urban praised him for having true talent and Mariah Carey can’t wait to hear him in a studio. He was selected to be part of the Top 20.
Top 20/Semi-Finals Round 2: Devin Velez impressed the judges yet again with his take on the classic tune "It's Impossible" during the Top 10 guys semi-finals round, switching again from English to Spanish mid-song. Randy Jackson praised the tone of Devin's voice, while Mariah Carey called his performance "incredible."
Top 10 Results Show: Devin Velez was selected as one of the Season 12 Top 10 Finalists. He sang “The Power of One (Change the World)” by Israel Houghton as his victory song.
Top 10 Performance Show: Devin attempted to go out of his comfort zone by singing Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home" during the Top 10 performance show. While the judges were mixed about whether the song was a right fit for him, they concurred that his vocals were strong.
Top 7 Results Show: After landing in the bottom three yet again, Devin was voted off American Idol by the viewers. The judges declined to use their one save of the season to keep him from going home.
- Marnie Brodersen