Watch American Idol’s Special Musical Tribute to Late Finalist & GRAMMY Winner Mandisa Tonight

American Idol is paying tribute to gospel singer, GRAMMY winner, and former finalist Mandisa after she passed away on April 18 at the age of 47. The show announced the special tribute last week, sharing that it will air on tonight’s episode (April 29). Fans can watch the tribute on ABC, where American Idol will air at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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During the previous episode, host Ryan Seacrest shared the sad news of Mandisa’s passing. “We wanted to take a moment to honor a dear member of the American Idol family we sadly lost this week — Mandisa,” he said. “She was an inspiration during her time here on the show and beyond. We’re going to celebrate her next week with a very special musical tribute. Our hearts go out to her family and all of those like us who call [her] a friend.”

American Idol also made a public statement. “Mandisa was an adored icon on American Idol and in the music industry,” the statement began. “She had become a platinum-selling artist and had won several Grammys for her music. Her passing has left everyone on the show heartbroken, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family.”

Additional tributes poured in for Mandisa from friends and contemporaries, among them her fellow contestant Taylor Hicks. He posted a photo of them together on social media, commenting on her “powerhouse” vocals and personality.

[RELATED: Watch the Late Mandisa’s ‘American Idol’ Audition That Had Judges “Fallin’” Over Themselves]

Mandisa Once Humbled Simon Cowell on American Idol

Simon Cowell said some truly horrendous things on American Idol in the name of constructive criticism, including comments about Mandisa once she left the room following her audition. However, the fact that he could say these things and Mandisa expressed forgiveness instead of anger was really a testament to the strength of her character.

Once Mandisa finished her audition and left the room, Cowell made tactless comments about her weight, asking if they “had a bigger stage.” When Mandisa returned and sat in front of Cowell, she said, “You didn’t need a bigger stage but you could have gotten a bigger chair,” proving that she had heard him.

She continued, “Simon, a lot of people want me to say a lot of things to you. But this is what I want to say to you.” She then gave him what-for not in anger or malice, but in forgiveness. “Yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful. It really was,” she said. “But, I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you. You don’t need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. And I figure if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I could certainly extend that same grace to you.”

Cowell was rightfully stunned, and stood to hug Mandisa. “I am humbled,” he admitted, which at one time was an unthinkable feat on American Idol. He continued, “I’m just so appalling aren’t I?”

Featured Image by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for K-LOVE Fan Awards

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