'American Idol' Season 18 Episode 5: Aliana Jester's voice is proof why judges call her young Whitney Houston
The last audition round of 'American Idol' just premiered on the ABC network, and Episode 5 brought another amazing batch of singing contestants on the night of March 15. One of the most moving stories involved Aliana Jester, a talented young black girl originally from Tampa, now residing in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Aliana showed up with her emotional support dog, a cute French bulldog named Nova, and after hearing about her turbulent past, the judges were extremely glad to see that she was still standing in front of them, ready to take on the daunting audition round.
Her emotional backstory clearly struck a chord with the judges, and her bravery is certain to endear her to the viewing public as well.
Aliana's father and mother had separated while she was still a toddler, and she grew up with her mother, who fostered her growing love for music and even took her to singing competitions.
However, after her mother joined a new religion, Aliana began to feel alienated and unloved, particularly since she did not subscribe to her mother's new beliefs.
Matters were made more complicated by the fact that she had also recently started dating a non-religious person, and her mother came down hard on Aliana because of this, leaving her confined at home most of the time.
Having lost her bedrock of support and seeking a way out of her miserable and lonely life, Aliana turned to her dad, who was a military man. After hearing about her struggles, the understanding father promptly took his daughter under his wing with his new family and quickly became her beacon of hope and inspiration.
And after hearing her performance of The Jackson 5's 'Who's Lovin' You', the judges were both moved and overwhelmed by her outstanding talent in the face of adversity. Aliana possesses a humongous, crystal-clear voice, reminiscent of many great female African-American singers like Aretha Franklin and Beyonce.
Katy Perry encouraged her to channel all her pain and heartbreak into her lyrics, while Luke Bryan insisted that she was "a special, special singer" who would go on to be "bright light" in the singing competition.
Lionel Richie completely agreed, saying that she was a true star who reminded him of a young Whitney Houston. The judges were therefore unanimous in their decision to put her through to Hollywood.
Social media was also abuzz with the young singer's talent. "Aliana is incredible! And that pup is adorable" said one enthusiastic viewer. Another instant fan gushed, "Aliana Jester has such a beautiful voice. Also an inspiring individual. Can’t wait to watch her grow and thrive."
We can't wait to see how she will fare in Hollywood as well, and we're counting on her new fans to give her all the support and encouragement she will need to win the whole competition.