JSU student makes American Idol’s Top 12


By Edelia Dr. Jay Carthan ,

Contributing Writer,



Jackson State University’s student and member of the Sonic Boom of the South, made it to American Idol’s Top 12 Monday night during the live show.

DeShawn Goncalves, a JSU music major, a native of Ohio and a 2019 graduate of East High School, has won over the judges and America by making it to another round.

On Monday’s night show, American Idol’s host, Ryan Seacrest, told Goncalves, “the judges are loving your growth, and America likes your growth, too.”

Goncalves credits Jackson State for making him a better singer. “When I got to Jackson State, my music professors told me, ‘Son, I need you to work on this and work on this, and it just made me better,” Goncalves said. 

Goncalves received rave reviews from the judges after his performance of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good which landed him in the next round.

“This was your best performance,” American Idol judge Luke Bryan told Goncalves. “Watching your growth is what’s so inspiring for us as judges.”

The iconic Lionel Richie was touched. “First of all, let me just tell you from all of us that sing, the hardest thing in the world is a cold start, meaning it’s all you. You handled that with such control. You handled that like a pro. You owned the piano as well,” Richie said in response to Goncalves’ performances. 

“Selling you behind that piano is one step, selling you in front of the piano is another level in your career. Congratulations, my friend.”

American Idol judge Katy Perry called Goncalves’ performance “next level.”

“Never stop striving to achieve your dreams. One of mine just came true,” Goncalves wrote on Instagram after winning his golden ticket to Hollywood.

“Lionel Richie told me to just be myself and I’ll be fine and that’s what I’m doing. So I’m going to trust in him, trust in God and trust in myself to carry me through,” Goncalves said in an interview.

Mississippi native Hannah Everhart from Canton, made it to the Top 24 but was eliminated.

Catch American Idol Sundays and Mondays 8/7 central.

To support Gonsalves, vote at AmericanIdol.com/Vote or on the American Idol App or text 7 to 21523.

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