We can only imagine it must be difficult to live in the shadow of a famous mother when you are trying to launch your own career as a singer. American Idol 2016 finalist Gianna Isabella seems to handle the pressure with grace, however, and is learning to shine all on her own when she takes the stage. We’re sure mom Brenda K. Starr is exceedingly proud of her talented daughter coming into her own.
American Idol 2016 isn’t the first reality show rodeo Gianna Isabella has competed in. Before auditioning for season 15, she was a competitor on The X Factor 2013 and won a private audition to America’s Got Talent. She failed to make the finalists on either of those two shows, but it looks like the third time has been the charm for Gianna on the final season of American Idol. (Read more on Gianna’s backstory on her Top 24 profile page.)
Audition: Gianna Isabella’s American Idol audition got a bit sidetracked after she told the judges that her mother was singer Brenda K. Starr, who rose to stardom in the late 80’s and is the voice behind the classic hit song “I Still Believe.” However, American Idol isn’t about who your parents are, it’s about the talent you possess, and Gianna quickly proved she has the gifts to stand on her own. Her performance of “House of the Rising Sun” garnered high praise from the judges and earned her a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Hollywood Week Lines of 8 Solos: In Hollywood Week, Gianna’s first brief solo of “One Night Only” by American Idol alumni Jennifer Hudson easily passed her through to the next round. Meanwhile, mom Brenda K. Starr was nearly overcome with emotion in the audience and burst into tears after her daughter made the cut.
Hollywood Week Group Round: Group round started off as a chaotic mess in rehearsals for Gianna and teammates Dana Ordway and Eliz Camacho. Their group performance wasn’t much better, and the American Idol judges were literally cringing at points during the song. Luckily for Gianna, the celebrity panel still felt her talent shone through despite forgetting the words. In fact, Harry Connick Jr. said she out sang both her teammates, even though they were 10 years older than her!
Hollywood Week Solo Round: We couldn’t locate a video of Gianna’s second solo performance in Hollywood, but apparently the judges liked it well enough to move her to the Showcase Round before the Top 24 selection.
Showcase Round & Final Judgement: For her Showcase Round song, Gianna chose her mother’s hit song “I Still Believe” for her solo. During rehearsals, Gianna hit a bit of a bump in the road when her “momager” got a bit too hands on in trying to coach her on stage. Music Director Ricky Minor had to tell mom to take a step back and let them take care of her daughter. Mom needn’t have worried so much, as Gianna gave a beautiful and powerful performance that earned her a spot in the Top 24.
Top 24 Semi-Finals Solo Round: In the Top 24 solo round, Gianna Isabella chose the difficult task of taking on an Annie Lennox song with “I Put A Spell On You.” American Idol judge Keith Urban said Gianna’s voice “was undeniable” and she can really sing. Jennifer Lopez told Gianna her “voice was so real” and she’s so strong. Harry Connick Jr. also said Gianna is a very strong singer and she just needs to challenge herself to take it to the next level.
Top 24 Semi-Finals Duet Round: For the Top 24 duet round, Gianna was paired with American Idol winner Nick Fradiani on his single “Beautiful Life.” The song was a bit difficult for the two of them to work out the different parts, but the end result turned out wonderfully. Gianna still looked a bit inexperienced on stage, but her voice was lovely and matched well with the former American Idol winner. The American Idol judges were very positive about her performance, and Jennifer Lopez thought it was the perfect duet and song for Gianna. Apparently so, since it earned her a spot in the Top 14 finalists for season 15.
Will Gianna Isabella make it through the next cut to be part of the American Idol 2016 Top 10? We’ll bring you all the latest American Idol spoilers on the next round of the competition as they happen!