American Idol

Danielle Finn talks about her American Idol audition


Danielle Finn, after her audition on American Idol Season 20. (ABC Photo)

Danielle Finn, after her audition on American Idol Season 20. (ABC Photo)

Danielle Finn had Katy Perry on her side soon after she started singing during her American Idol audition.

Luke Bryan wasn’t so sure.

But after performing “Mirrors” twice for the superstar judges, Danielle rushed out of the audition room clutching one of those Idol’s coveted golden tickets to Hollywood.

A 17-year-old from Los Angeles, Danielle has been a student at Shalhevet High School and a member of the Shalhevet Choirhawks, the school’s touring a cappella group.

Here’s what Danielle had to say about her Idol audition.

Idol Chatter: How did you wind up auditioning for Season 20 and what made you decide that now was the right time for doing so?

Danielle: I really didn’t decide on the timing! My mom’s best friend from college, Michelle, has been a fan of my singing since I was 3. When she found out that her childhood friends was scouting for American Idol talent, Michelle forwarded to her a few of my TikTok clips. The rest is history!

Idol Chatter: Why did you choose “Mirror” for your audition song?

Danielle: One of my best friends showed me this Madison Ryan Ward song about a year ago and I fell in love with it. The vibe of the song is pretty sorrowful and mellow, but has so much power and soul at the same time.

In general, I love playing around with different riffs and melodies to make each song my own, but I knew that “Mirror” was pretty unknown and so beautiful on its own that if I sang it with good emotion, my style would show through being pretty true to the original. The coolest part was that on Sunday night after the episode aired, I got a shout out from Madison on her Instagram account!

Idol Chatter: What type of music do you gravitate toward when performing on your own?

Danielle: I love to sing really soulful, groovy music. Music that I can really feel in my bones when I’m singing. Usually, when I tell people that they aren’t too sure what that means until I start singing. I gravitate to artists like India Arie, Stevie Wonder, Adele and Sia.

Idol Chatter: Only a portion of your audition aired. Were there any highlights we missed in terms of the feedback you received? And what was the experience like?

Danielle: My full audition was way longer than what aired. I actually sang the whole song twice for the judges! The first time was in the key that Madison sings it and then again in a higher key.

I was more comfortable in the original key, but I had nothing to lose! I got more feedback from the judges than what aired, including to keep my voice healthy, take risks, and be confident when performing. I’ve continued to work on these points throughout the competition.

Idol Chatter: How did you get started in music and decide it was something you wanted to seriously pursue.

Danielle: Music has always been my passion and my parents started me on singing lessons at the age of 7. And, I come from a musical family on both my parents’ sides. My mom’s mom was in a choir. My dad’s father was a professional cantor in Chicago, and my dad’s sister, who was in a rock band and tragically passed away too early, inspired me to start writing my own music. Once I started that at about 12 years old, I knew performing and writing music is what I wanted do professionally.

Idol Chatter: Besides Idol, what are your musical highlights to date, both with the Choirhawks and as a solo performer.

Danielle: I performed only twice live, once at a bar and another time at an open coffee shop in LA. After those two experiences, I fell in love with performing. Of course I’m still working on stage presence and exposure in general, but I love doing it!

Other than that, I’ve consistently sung the national anthem all the way to my high school’s basketball championship! Coach Ryan say I’m their lucky charm! hahah. I’m also coming out with a song in a couple weeks called “Brace Yourself” which is very exciting.

American Idol Season 20 profiles

The links take you to the profiles of singers who auditioned for Season 20 of American Idol.

Allegra Miles
Ashley Blaire
Ava Maybee
Betty Maxwell
Cadence Baker
Carly Mickeal
Christian Guardino
Ciasia Nicole
Cole Wesley Ritter
Corey Curtis

Dakota Hayden
Dan Marshall
Danielle Clavell
Danielle Finn
Douglas Mills, Jr.
Elli Rowe
Elliot Greer
Emyrson Flora
Fritz Hager
Hunter Girl

Jacob Moran
Jay Copeland
Joedi Silvers
Jordan Chase Torrez
Jourdan Blue
Katyrah Love
Kaylin Roberson
Kendra Checketts
Kenedi Anderson
Kevin Gullage

Kezia Istonia (a.k.a. Lady K.)
Kirk Richmond
Leah Marlene
Lexi Weege
Max Embers
Mike Parker
Nicolina Bozzo
Noah Thompson
Olivia Faye
Paige Fish

Ryan Argast
Ryleigh Madison
Sam Moss
Scarlet Ayliz
Sir Blayke
Tobias Hill
Tristen Gressett
Tyler Allen
Valerie Marie
Wennely Quezada
Yoli Mayor

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