Syesha Mercado

A singer, dancer, and actress, Syesha Mercado is best known as the third place finalist on the seventh season of Fox's American Idol competition. Born in Connecticut in 1987, Mercado actually grew up in Florida where she sang in her church choir. The daughter of a former Motown backup singer, Mercado began singing around age three and eventually attended both a performing arts junior high and high school. After graduating high school in 2005, she moved to Miami to pursue her performance career and enrolled at a local University. Prior to her time on American Idol, she found work as an actress in commercials, and even appeared on the failed ABC television reality vocal competition The One in 2006. Eventually citing such influences as Whitney Houston, Etta James, and Alicia Keys, Mercado performed Aretha Franklin's "Think" for her first audition for American Idol. Despite her popularity on the show, she actually came close to getting voted off several times before finally making it into the Top Three. ~ Matt Collar

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