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Idol vs. Identity: Alyssa Raghu’s Cultural Journey on ‘American Idol’

It’s Sunday night and my family is gathered around the television in the living room to watch “American Idol.” I can’t say this is my dad’s usual preference, but even he’s invested, joining in on my mom’s enthusiasm to see one performer in particular – Indo-Caribbean sweetheart, Alyssa Raghunandan.

During her first audition, she proudly dubbed herself “Raghu like the sauce,” turning the phrase “I’ve got the sauce” into a popular tagline after her first stint on the show in 2018.

As Raghu garnered attention she publicly embraced her half-Guyanese identity and performed at charity shows within the Indo-Caribbean community, most notably performing at Chutney Glow — an annual fundraiser hosted by the Save Abee Foundation for Children. She also performed at Amazura Concert Hall in New York for a Mother’s Day show, where she belted out a beautiful song in those octaves we have grown to love.

She even sat down with Pix11’s Jennifer Bisram to speak about her dream of being a singer and her feelings about being a literal voice for Indo-Caribbeans. She humbly expressed that her run on “American Idol” “really helped this entire community just glow.”

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