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Who is Anilee List? Meet 'American Idol' golden ticket winner who was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at 10

Anilee battles a mixture of body, facial and vocal tics because of Tourettes but all of it goes away when she sings
UPDATED FEB 15, 2021
Anilee List is still a student at the Berklee College of Music and will graduate in 2022 (ABC)
Anilee List is still a student at the Berklee College of Music and will graduate in 2022 (ABC)

20-year-old Anilee List from Los Angeles, California walked home with a golden ticket on the season premiere episode of 'American Idol' on Sunday night. Anilee is still a student at the Berklee College of Music and will graduate in 2022, but she's already making big moves when it comes to her career. Along with the golden ticket, she also received a standing ovation from all three judges – Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. 

Anilee started performing when she was only four years old. The first-ever stage she performed on was at the Santa Monica Playhouse. In the video diaries, she described herself as an outgoing kid who always wanted to perform. But at 7 years old, she started developing facial and motor tics that made it difficult to control her body at all, to a point where she found it difficult to even go to sleep. She was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at 10 years of age and she was left thinking that she didn't want to be the kid with "something wrong with her."


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Season 10 'American Idol' James Durbin was on tv. Her confidence was dipping very low but watching James make it on the show, it all started coming back to her. She met Durbin through the Tourettes Association of America, an organization she's actively involved with. It was through them that she met James and the experience was "shocking and incredible". Anilee had decided from the point that she wasn't going to let her Tourettes define her and that she was as weird and normal as anyone else. Just like Durbin, her tics completely went away when she sings and Anilee described this as a superpower to the judges. 

For the audition, she sang 'Blue' by Aaron Taylor and Katy Perry described her performance as the "most technically perfect vocals" ever heard on the show before. "It's just completely flawless. No one needs to critique your voice. What are we going to tell this child?" Luke Bryan said turning towards the other judges who burst out in joyous laughter. "I cannot wait to see where this goes," Lionel Richie said whereas Perry noted that there was "not one note off" during Anilee's performance. 


Audiences watching from home were as impressed as the judges. "The woman with all the riffs, ridiculous melodic choices, the nose ring and the perfect notes was 100% a college #acappella kid. Called it. Anilee? Happens to have Tourette's. Slayed. Respect. #AmericanIdol" wrote one fan. "Incredible audition from Anilee, I could see her going really far this season. #AmericanIdol #idol" read another tweet.  "New season of #AmericanIdol and I’m obsessed with Anilee List’s audition. You are a star, keep shining!!" another fan tweeted. "Anilee list is going to Hollywood #AmericanIdol" tweeted another fan.





Catch new episodes of 'American Idol' on Sunday nights at 8 pm ET on ABC.