Who is Ronda Felton? 19-year-old 'American Idol' contestant from Arizona made Lionel Richie cry with her song

Who is Ronda Felton? 19-year-old 'American Idol' contestant from Arizona made Lionel Richie cry with her song
Ronda Felton in 'American Idol' (ABC)

Arizona resident, Ronda Felton will be seen auditioning on the upcoming episode of Season 19 of 'American Idol' that is currently airing on TV. Her brilliance as a vocalist was teased in one of the previews and Ronda will be making an appearance on Sunday, February 28, night's episode. 

When it comes to her biggest influence who led her to pursue music as her career path, Ronda credits her mother from whom she inherited her love for singing as well as the talent. She was accompanied by her mother to the 'Idol' auditions where she sang 'One Night' from 'Dream Girls'. Before her audition airs, here's all you need to know about her.


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Who is Ronda Felton on 'American Idol'?

Speaking about her audition, Ronda said, "Singing in front of Lionel Richie, my idol, and Katy Perry, she's beautiful! Like, oh my God," in an interview with WISN 12. She added, "A lot of times I was trying to play, it cool, oh my God. Yeah, but on the — on the inside I was — it was really crazy."

About her song choice, Ronda said, "I chose (to sing) 'One Night' from 'Dream Girls' because, absolutely it's in this moment, I only have one night to prove this is what I want to do." Ronda's singing brings Lionel Richie to tears as seen in the trailer of 'Idol'. 

Ronda Felton's difficult childhood

Ronda's mother never left her side but her growing up years weren't easy at all and she did experience a lot of ups and downs. "There were definitely times where I felt like my dreams of singing or where I want to go was not realistic," she told the outlet.

Ronda battled depression because of various reasons including homelessness and family issues but she credits music with saving her life and as a bridge that helped her connect with her dead grandmother who passed when the singer was 16.  Music helped her whizz past a childhood that she described as "very hectic, very unstable and very traumatizing," in an interview with AZ Central.


Ronda also endured a lot of abuse during her early years. "I dealt with verbal and physical abuse from people I was taught to trust," she told the outlet. "And the things that they would say really resonate with me today — like I wouldn't be good enough. Not beautiful enough. My dreams were unrealistic. They said things that as a kid, you can't really fathom why they're saying that," she said.

Ronda Felton knew she was meant to be on television

"I used to tell my mom all the time, 'I'm gonna be on TV, mom, You're gonna see me on TV, I'm gonna be famous one day'," she said while adding, "I just knew that I wanted to be something bigger — or something greater — than what I was and how I felt."

However, certain situations led to Ronda losing her spark and the confidence she had about making it big. "It's harder to fight those words. It's harder to not believe what certain people say if you hear it over x amount of years, over so many years. It's hard to believe that those things are not true about you," she said. 


Ronda Felton fought the odds

Realization dawned on Ronda who decided that she was responsible for how her life shapes up, all the wins and losses she takes in life, and how to handle each of them. "You decide to win. Even when all the cards are stacked against you, the only way you can win is by not letting it overcome you. In my depression, where I was believing those things I was told, the people who told me that were winning. But if it's my life, I should be winning," she told the outlet. 


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

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