Alyssa Raghu shed tears of joy Sunday night when she was advanced to Hollywood for the next round of American Idol. The 15 year old songbird auditioned on the premiere episode on season 16 of the ABC’s singing competition before judges Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryan.
Born to Guyanese parents, Alyssa is a student at Lake Nona High School in Orlando Florida and also plays the guitar. According to www.wftv.com, Alyssa’s ‘American Idol’ journey started in Orlando when she stood in line for over 12 hours to sing for a group of producers at Disney Springs. The in-person audition at Disney Springs was the first stop on the show’s ‘Idol Bus Tour.’ Over the summer, the ‘Idol’ producers traveled coast to coast, stopping at 20 different locations, in search of their next superstar.
After getting past the bus tour, Alyssa flew to Los Angeles for a nerve-wracking audition in front of the ‘American Idol’ judges. She was the second to last contestant to sing that day.
“I told myself that I had to do my best no matter what…to be myself and not to change, and to give myself to the judges,” Raghu said.
She sang ‘Almost is Never Enough’ by pop singer Ariana Grande.
Alyssa has been working hard up until this Idol moment. In April, she played Nina Rosario in a production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights”. The character Nina is the first in her family and from the Barrio to go to college (Stanford, no less). Nina is known as “the one who made it out” until she returns home after dropping out. Nina was originally played on Broadway by actress/singer Mandy Gonzalez, who went on to play Elphaba in Wicked and Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton. Four months after playing Nina, Alyssa released her first original song “Leave” in August.
On Facebook, describes herself as “just a 15-year-old girl chasing her dreams, one song at a time.”
On Instagram, she informs us: “It’s pronounced Raa-G-OO, like the sauce!” That’s shortened from her full last name of Raghunandan.
On YouTube, she takes on songs by a wide range of artists, from the country-pop of Brett Young to the rock of Aerosmith to Drake’s “Home On, We’re Going Home.”
The judges were so impressed with Alyssa’s singing that Katie Perry told her she will be in the top 10.
In her audition tape, Alyssa shared that she lives with her dad and expressed her love and appreciation for his support. However, she also wanted to make it clear that her mother is still very much in her life and posted the following message to her facebook page.
“Just for some clarification, my mom is an incredible woman and is still in my life. When she did move away to Arizona, it was to help her family that really needed her. She knew how close my dad and I are, and wanted me to be happy. I see my mom very often, and she is a wonderful and caring human being. She travels to see all my performances and has been super supportive of my dreams. Love you mom.“