Former Contestant Tori Kelly Shines on ‘American Idol’

American Idol wouldn’t have lasted 22 seasons if producers didn’t know what viewers wanted. Fans obviously tune in each season for the fresh crop of Hollywood hopefuls, but that novelty alone can’t sustain the show’s success. Based on the online reaction to former contestant Tori Kelly’s performance Sunday (April 7) fans want to catch up with past Idol hopefuls.

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Tori Kelly Appears as Guest Mentor on ‘American Idol’

Longtime Idol viewers may remember Tori Kelly from Season 9. The 31-year-old California native made it to Hollywood Week in 2010, but fell short of the Top 24. However, this proved to be just the beginning for Kelly. Since then, she’s earned two GRAMMY awards and starred in the animated series Sing. Kelly just released her latest single “High Water” in February, ahead of her self-titled fifth album’s April 5 release.

In a ‘full-circle moment,’ the singer-songwriter performed “High Water” during Sunday’s (April 7) episode of American Idol. Audience members swayed as Kelly belted, Something is comin’ in the mornin’ / If I can make it through the night / Whatever comes, Hell or high water / I know, I know what’s on the other side.

In a 2018 interview, the Unbreakable Smile singer admitted to being “so devastated” at her elimination. That knowledge makes the “High Water” chorus that much more poignant.

“It is such a full-circle moment, to be honest,” Kelly tod host Ryan Seacrest of her season 22 appearance. “Having been 16 years old, being on this show, just to be able to give back is a really cool feeling.”

The performance certainly set Twitter ablaze. “Tori Kelly singing High Water shows you don’t have to win a competition to become a Star,” one viewer wrote on X/Twitter. “One of the best young voices out rn.”

Kelly will serve as a mentor this season along with country star Jelly Roll.

Tori Kelly Opens Up About Recent Health Scare

The vocal powerhouse was planning to release an EP last summer when she was hospitalized after collapsing at a Los Angeles restaurant. During her stay, the “Nobody Love” singer learned that blood clots had formed in her legs and around her lungs.

[RELATED: Tori Kelly Gives an Update on Her Health After Blood Clots: “It Seems Like it’s a Manageable Thing Now”]

Fortunately, she recovered swiftly. “When I look at just my life, my career and getting to go on these tours, I’m just like, ‘I don’t want to take anything for granted because life as I now have experienced is so fragile,'” the artist said. “I’m just holding people a little closer.”

Featured image by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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