The Berklee College of Music student, 20, explained on the February episode that she was using an unexpected loss to push her forward as a performer. “I used to watch ‘American Idol’ with my dad and my mom,” she revealed. “I always imagined if I went, he would be there, but last February, I was at school and my brother called me at 7 in the morning and said, ‘You should look for flights home. They just took dad to the hospital and he’s not breathing.’ It was very unexpected.”
She then delivered a memorable rendition of Gladys Knight & the Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia,” which she followed up with the Aretha Franklin‘s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman after judge Luke Bryan asked to hear more.
“The legend that is Carole King wrote it, the legend that is Aretha Franklin sang it, you need to sing it like the legend you want to be. Tall order. Don’t phone it in; make me feel it. Sing ‘Natural Woman’ to me like I never heard it before,” Katy Perry advised the singer before her performance.
Perry, 36, admitted that Kinstler had what it takes, saying, “There’s not a whole lot of critiquing I need to do. I got a wave of full-body chills twice. That’s music. That’s true magic.”
Fellow judge Lionel Richie added, “You actually have control of that amazing instrument.”
From there, Kinstler continued to move all the way up to the Top 24 and she shows no plans of stopping.
“Your voice quality, your confidence, the way you portray yourself on stage, it’s a winning package,” Richie, 71, told the American Idol contestant after her powerful duet with Joss Stone on April 4.
Bryan, 44, called the recent performance “incredible”, saying, “I’m so excited to be a part of this, to watch you grow as an artist and a performer. I think there’s no surprise I’ve been a fan since day 1.”
Scroll down for five things to know about Kinstler as American Idol continues to heat up this season.