Indian-American student Sonika Vaid has made it to the final five of American Idol.
The 20-year-old Vaid has now made history as the first contestant of South Asian origin to reach these final rounds of the reality singing competition, which is on its 15th and final edition.
Since the show’s premiere in 2002, only two South Asian contestants have made it to the top 10: Sanjaya Malakar, who finished seventh during season six, and Anoop Desai, who placed sixth during season eight.
The judges gave Vaid their final save of the season after she received the least number of audience votes alongside 15-year-old country crooner Tristan McIntosh. After a showdown of performances between Vaid and McIntosh, the latter was eliminated from the competition.
This week, each of the remaining contestants performed two songs selected for them by fans on Twitter. Vaid performed Let It Go, recorded by Idina Menzel for the 2013 Disney hit Frozen, and Clarity, by the Russian-German electronic dance music producer Zedd and featuring the vocals of British singer Foxes.
Of the two covers, her performance of Let It Go was given a warmer response by the panel.
“I think that was a really smart choice of song. I thought it was a very strong job,” said Harry Connick Jr. “You sing intimate, small ballads better than anybody we’ve heard in this competition.”
Keith Urban told her: “Sonika, that was beautiful. That was a great song for you. Your performances are starting to get alive — we’re seeing that as the series goes by.”
“I’m trying,” Vaid replied.
Jennifer Lopez said: “Sonika, you are shy. But you are also very fierce — you are a fighter. Your performance reminded everybody that you are not ready to go home, that you can do this.”
Based in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Vaid is a child of Indian immigrants. She begun singing at the age of three. Prior to entering American Idol, Vaid was studying biology in university.
In an interview after her performances, Vaid said: “I think I’ve just gotten a whole lot more comfortable about the idea of being on stage. I just feel so blessed — I never thought I’d make it this far.”
Vaid faces tough competition in the final five, which features pop-rocker Dalton Rapattoni, singer-songwriter Mackenzie Bourg, soul artist Trent Harmon and belter La’Porsha Renae, who is heavily tipped to win the crown. The competition culminates in a big finale on April 7.
Source: art & life