“Wrap your head around being a ginormous star, please, because there is no other way around it. There’s no other way around it.” As American Idol judge Luke Bryan complimented 24-year-old Alejandro Aranda on Sunday’s show, the young man from Pomona took it all in. This weekend, he became one of the few Latinos to crack the top three.
Since the beginning, Aranda has been pegged as a frontrunner. Throughout this competition, the almost journalist has moved and impressed the judges time and again, and Sunday, when he performed Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” was no different. Lionel Richie predicted that Aranda would receive a letter from Elton, and Katy Perry said his rendition made her feel sad, as it should.
In the jam-packed episode, contestants paid tribute to their heroes, which gave Aranda an opportunity to pay homage to his musical mentor, Twin Shadow, aka George Lewis Jr. Growing up, he didn’t have too many role models or friends, but he became drawn to classical music. A few years ago, he linked up with Twin Shadow over social media, and the Dominican-American musician became his mentor.
“George not only believed in me, but he pushed me to get my songs out there. He believed in me so much,” Alejandro said. “Everything that I needed to create music, he just gave it to me, and he didn’t expect anything other than for me to make music. And for him to do that meant the world to me.”
In a touching video, Aranda tells Twin Shadow that he considered giving up, but that the artists’ support encouraged him to keep pushing.
As he faces off against Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg, there are many people who are excited about Aranda making it to the top three. Check out a few reactions below.