‘American Idol’ Contestant Nicolina Blows Judges Away with “Hallelujah” Performance

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

American Idol powerhouse contestant Nicolina gave a heartfelt performance of a classic hit on the Top 11 episode. Dedicated to her “Nona,” the singer belted out a rendition of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.” 

It’s a song that holds a very special place in Nicolina’s family because it was Nona’s anthem during her recovery from cancer. As she was going through chemotherapy, Nona clung to Jeff Buckley’s version of the song, says Nicolina. 

“My Nona’s the strongest woman I’ve ever met,” the singer said. “When everything kind of happened, I thought I might’ve lost my best friend, and I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was definitely one of the hardest moments of my life.” 

Nicolina sang the song triumphantly for her Nona and family, who were in attendance for the performance. Accompanied by a choir of background singers, Nicolina began the song with her angelic vocals. And as the song’s dynamics grew, she belted the lyrics, Nothing on my tongue but ‘hallelujah.’

The entire crowd cheered in awe. As the song ended, American Idol captured the family together in the crowd, crying and holding each other.  

“It was like watching an angel sing this beautiful song,” Katy Perry admitted. “It was really, really beautiful.” 

“Backstage we have a fight over who does the best rendition,” Perry continued. “Is it Leonard Cohen? Is it Buckley? It might just be Nicolina now.

“You are gifted beyond your years. Really enjoy where you are at this point in your life because the sky is the limit. You can go a long, long way.” 

America voted for the next round of finalists throughout the night, and the top 11 were announced at the end of the episode. Nicolina will be advancing to the next round of the competition as part of the Top 11.  

Tune in to American Idol on ABC Sundays and Mondays at 8/7 p.m. CST to watch Nicolina’s next performance. 

Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

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