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American Idol: This Is Me special delves deeper into the Top 20 singers

Katy Perry’s advice led an American Idol contestant to change her stage name… but in a completely different way than Katy intended, it was revealed on Sunday’s show.

Sophia Wackerman, a 20-year-old college student from Long Beach, California, was so good at her audition, singing Bishop Briggs’ Water, that Katy, 35, suggested she change her name.

She thought Sophia should adopt the moniker ‘Sophia Star’ for her late mother, Naomi Star, who’d sung for The Moody Blues and Belinda Carlisle before dying of lung cancer in 2016.

New name: Katy Perry’s advice led an American Idol contestant to change her stage name… but in a completely different way than Katy intended, it was revealed on Sunday’s show

New name: Sophia Wackerman, a 20-year-old college student from Long Beach, California, was so good at her audition, singing Bishop Briggs' Water, that Katy, 35, suggested she change her name

New name: Sophia Wackerman, a 20-year-old college student from Long Beach, California, was so good at her audition, singing Bishop Briggs’ Water, that Katy, 35, suggested she change her name

Sophia considered it but declined, deciding to stick with her last name, which she shared with her brother, James Wackerman, and father, Chad Wackerman, a drummer for James Taylor.

After Sophia turned in an especially scorching cover of Nick Jonas’ Levels during Idol’s Hawaii showcase, Katy reiterated her advice, saying, ‘It’s never too late to change your name!’

‘Listen, I love all the Wackermans,’ the Roar singer insisted. ‘I love all the Wackermans that are here, but every time I see ‘Wackerman,’ I cross it off.’

Name change: Sophia considered it but declined, deciding to stick with her last name, which she shared with her brother, James Wackerman, and father, Chad Wackerman, a drummer for James Taylor

Name change: Sophia considered it but declined, deciding to stick with her last name, which she shared with her brother, James Wackerman, and father, Chad Wackerman, a drummer for James Taylor

Not too late: After Sophia turned in an especially scorching cover of Nick Jonas' Levels during Idol's Hawaii showcase, Katy reiterated her advice, saying, 'It's never too late to change your name!'

Not too late: After Sophia turned in an especially scorching cover of Nick Jonas’ Levels during Idol’s Hawaii showcase, Katy reiterated her advice, saying, ‘It’s never too late to change your name!’

On Sunday’s show, Sophia announced that she had finally agreed to change her name, ‘not to Sophia Star, but to… drumroll please… Sophia James. Because, you know, my brother’s name is James, and it’s honoring my favorite person in the entire world.’

James, she wrote in a recent Instagram post, is her ‘number one supporter and the light of my life. James has Fragile X Syndrome, an intellectual disability that causes behavioral, social and learning challenges. It’s just a part of who he is, and I love him unconditionally.’

Naomi once served on the board of the Fragile X Association of Southern California, so by changing her name Sophia has honored both her brother and her mother’s memory.

Stage name: On Sunday's show, Sophia announced that she had finally agreed to change her name, 'not to Sophia Star, but to… drumroll please… Sophia James. Because, you know, my brother's name is James, and it's honoring my favorite person in the entire world'

Stage name: On Sunday’s show, Sophia announced that she had finally agreed to change her name, ‘not to Sophia Star, but to… drumroll please… Sophia James. Because, you know, my brother’s name is James, and it’s honoring my favorite person in the entire world’

Father and brother: James, she wrote in a recent Instagram post, is her 'number one supporter and the light of my life. James (right) has Fragile X Syndrome, an intellectual disability that causes behavioral, social and learning challenges. It's just a part of who he is, and I love him unconditionally.'

Father and brother: James, she wrote in a recent Instagram post, is her ‘number one supporter and the light of my life. James (right) has Fragile X Syndrome, an intellectual disability that causes behavioral, social and learning challenges. It’s just a part of who he is, and I love him unconditionally.’

Viewers also got some insight into how Just Sam, a 20-year-old subway busker from New York City, acquired her own stage name, which was shortened from Samantha Diaz.

‘Growing up I was kind of a tomboy; I would switch up my style a lot,’ Just Sam explained. ‘In high school and stuff, they didn’t know what category to put me in. I wasn’t a girl, not a boy, but both. And I’m like, ‘Just Sam. Just Sam.’

Widely considered a frontrunner, Sam was shown for the first time getting so nervous during Hollywood Week that a medic was consulted for her headache—but she triumphed again, then won the judges’ hearts in Hawaii with a sexy, grown-up performance of Selena’s Como La Flor.

Just Sam: Viewers also got some insight into how Just Sam, a 20-year-old subway busker from New York City, acquired her own stage name, which was shortened from Samantha Diaz

Just Sam: Viewers also got some insight into how Just Sam, a 20-year-old subway busker from New York City, acquired her own stage name, which was shortened from Samantha Diaz

Tomboy: ‘Growing up I was kind of a tomboy; I would switch up my style a lot,’ Just Sam explained. ‘In high school and stuff, they didn’t know what category to put me in. I wasn’t a girl, not a boy, but both. And I’m like, "Just Sam. Just Sam"'

Tomboy: ‘Growing up I was kind of a tomboy; I would switch up my style a lot,’ Just Sam explained. ‘In high school and stuff, they didn’t know what category to put me in. I wasn’t a girl, not a boy, but both. And I’m like, ‘Just Sam. Just Sam”

The Idol show, entitled ‘This is Me,’ was the first of two parts, and provided special insight into the backgrounds of the remaining contestants, as well as the judges’ reactions to them.

Franklin Boone, a 27-year-old music teacher from Durham, North Carolina, was shown in an unseen performance from Hollywood Week playing John Mayer’s I Don’t Trust Myself.

Katy, who’d had a three-year on-and-off-relationship with John, 42, before getting engaged to actor Orlando Bloom, 43, was the sole judge to give Franklin a standing ovation for the song.

Franklin: Franklin Boone, a 27-year-old music teacher from Durham, North Carolina, was shown in an unseen performance from Hollywood Week playing John Mayer’s I Don’t Trust Myself

Franklin: Franklin Boone, a 27-year-old music teacher from Durham, North Carolina, was shown in an unseen performance from Hollywood Week playing John Mayer’s I Don’t Trust Myself

Katy: Katy, who'd had a three-year on-and-off-relationship with John, 42, before getting engaged to actor Orlando Bloom, 43, was the sole judge to give Franklin a standing ovation for the song

Katy: Katy, who’d had a three-year on-and-off-relationship with John, 42, before getting engaged to actor Orlando Bloom, 43, was the sole judge to give Franklin a standing ovation for the song

‘God he’s so good,’ she told her fellow judges, noting, ‘This is where he should play.’

In Hawaii, Franklin wowed her with another of John’s songs, Fathers, which the contestant sang at karaoke the night before his wife told him she was pregnant with their daughter Zoe.

‘Okay,’ Katy had said that night. ‘Show’s over.’

Franklin was also seen in another unseen performance of his original song from the audition rounds, which was so good, Katy felt he had a chance to win the whole thing.

‘Franklin IS the season,’ Katy agreed.

Ticket: ‘God he’s so good,’ she told her fellow judges, noting, ‘This is where he should play'

Ticket: ‘God he’s so good,’ she told her fellow judges, noting, ‘This is where he should play’

Season: ‘Franklin IS the season,’ Katy agreed

Season: ‘Franklin IS the season,’ Katy agreed

Julia Gargano, a 21-year-old college student from Staten Island, New York, had sung an original song for her audition and deeply moved the judges. She’d studied piano since she was eight and couldn’t picture herself doing anything else, she said, ‘so let’s hope this works out.’

Dubbed ‘Top Five’ by Katy and called ‘a star’ by judge Luke Bryan, 43, Julia chose Brandi Carlile’s The Joke for her Hollywood Week solo, figuring that if she couldn’t do an original, she would sing a song by a skilled songwriter. It turned out Brandi saw it, and Tweeted, ‘SO good Julia’.

Jonny West, a 23-year-old piano teacher from Murietta, California, also mesmerized the judges during Hollywood Week with his rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved.

Original: Julia Gargano, a 21-year-old college student from Staten Island, New York, had sung an original song for her audition and deeply moved the judges. She'd studied piano since she was eight and couldn't picture herself doing anything else, she said, 'so let's hope this works out'

Original: Julia Gargano, a 21-year-old college student from Staten Island, New York, had sung an original song for her audition and deeply moved the judges. She’d studied piano since she was eight and couldn’t picture herself doing anything else, she said, ‘so let’s hope this works out’

Top Five: Dubbed 'Top Five' by Katy and called 'a star' by judge Luke Bryan, 43, Julia chose Brandi Carlile's The Joke for her Hollywood Week solo, figuring that if she couldn't do an original, she would sing a song by a skilled songwriter. It turned out Brandi saw it, and Tweeted, 'SO good Julia'

Top Five: Dubbed ‘Top Five’ by Katy and called ‘a star’ by judge Luke Bryan, 43, Julia chose Brandi Carlile’s The Joke for her Hollywood Week solo, figuring that if she couldn’t do an original, she would sing a song by a skilled songwriter. It turned out Brandi saw it, and Tweeted, ‘SO good Julia’

Jonny: Jonny West, a 23-year-old piano teacher from Murietta, California, also mesmerized the judges during Hollywood Week with his rendition of Lewis Capaldi's Someone You Loved

Jonny: Jonny West, a 23-year-old piano teacher from Murietta, California, also mesmerized the judges during Hollywood Week with his rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s Someone You Loved

But on Sunday’s show, he said he was a hip-hop aficionado, showing viewers a bedroom closet where he once recorded mixtapes, ‘because it was the closest thing I had to a booth.’

His early songwriting featured lyrics like: ‘All these fanny packs’ll break your granny’s back.’

Jonny’s mother Michelle West smiled to herself when she remembered his former stage name: Skinny Neutron. ‘You just kind of think: ‘This too shall pass,’ she mused.

Hip-hop: But on Sunday's show, he said he was a hip-hop aficionado, showing viewers a bedroom closet where he once recorded mixtapes, 'because it was the closest thing I had to a booth'

Hip-hop: But on Sunday’s show, he said he was a hip-hop aficionado, showing viewers a bedroom closet where he once recorded mixtapes, ‘because it was the closest thing I had to a booth’

Early lyrics: His early songwriting featured lyrics like: 'All these fanny packs'll break your granny's back'

Early lyrics: His early songwriting featured lyrics like: 'All these fanny packs'll break your granny's back'

Early lyrics: His early songwriting featured lyrics like: ‘All these fanny packs’ll break your granny’s back’

Olivia Ximenes, a 16-year-old high school student from Menifee, California, impressed Katy with her Hollywood Week cover of Adele’s All I Ask, which had previously been unseen by viewers.

‘She challenged herself, and she rose to the occasion,’ Katy told her fellow judges.

‘Ever since Olivia was two years old, she has been an entertainer,’ her mother, Sandra, recalled. ‘When Olivia sings, I sometimes cry, just to look at her and know that that’s my child.’

Olivia: Olivia Ximenes, a 16-year-old high school student from Menifee, California, impressed Katy with her Hollywood Week cover of Adele's All I Ask, which had previously been unseen by viewers

Olivia: Olivia Ximenes, a 16-year-old high school student from Menifee, California, impressed Katy with her Hollywood Week cover of Adele’s All I Ask, which had previously been unseen by viewers

Challenge: 'She challenged herself, and she rose to the occasion,' Katy told her fellow judges

Challenge: ‘She challenged herself, and she rose to the occasion,’ Katy told her fellow judges

Parents: 'Ever since Olivia was two years old, she has been an entertainer,' her mother, Sandra, recalled. 'When Olivia sings, I sometimes cry, just to look at her and know that that's my child'

Parents: ‘Ever since Olivia was two years old, she has been an entertainer,’ her mother, Sandra, recalled. ‘When Olivia sings, I sometimes cry, just to look at her and know that that’s my child’

Lauren Spencer-Smith, a 16-year-old high school student from Vancouver Island, Canada, had an early connection to Katy, as she’d once sung her hit Firework at a middle school talent show.

Viewers also got to see her unaired audition cover of Lady Gaga’s I’ll Always Remember Us this Way, which had made her famous on social media, racking up hundreds of thousands of hits.

Makayla Phillips, a 17-year-old high school student from Canyon Lake, California, revealed that she’d auditioned for Idol in 2017 but was ‘two weeks too young,’ which she called ‘a downer’ as she was a major Idol fan who once pretended her Barbie doll was show host Ryan Seacrest, 45.

Lauren: Lauren Spencer-Smith, a 16-year-old high school student from Vancouver Island, Canada, had an early connection to Katy, as she'd once sung her hit Firework at a middle school talent show

Lauren: Lauren Spencer-Smith, a 16-year-old high school student from Vancouver Island, Canada, had an early connection to Katy, as she’d once sung her hit Firework at a middle school talent show

Makayla: Makayla Phillips, a 17-year-old high school student from Canyon Lake, California, revealed that she'd auditioned for Idol in 2017 but was 'two weeks too young,' which she called 'a downer' as she was a major Idol fan who once pretended her Barbie doll was show host Ryan Seacrest, 45

Makayla: Makayla Phillips, a 17-year-old high school student from Canyon Lake, California, revealed that she’d auditioned for Idol in 2017 but was ‘two weeks too young,’ which she called ‘a downer’ as she was a major Idol fan who once pretended her Barbie doll was show host Ryan Seacrest, 45

Katy called her R&B flavored audition ‘Top 10,’ but there was more to Makayla than she knew.

‘Most people when they hear me sing, they would have no idea that I have 200+ comic books at home,’ Makayla said. ‘I have pet rats, I love superheroes, I love supervillains, I play video games.’

Nick Merico, a 23-year-old server from Woodland Hills, California, starred on the Nickelodeon show Every Witch Way from 2014 to 2015, but bailed after making it to Hollywood last year.

More: Katy called her R&B flavored audition 'Top 10,' but there was more to Makayla than she knew

More: Katy called her R&B flavored audition ‘Top 10,’ but there was more to Makayla than she knew

Pets: 'Most people when they hear me sing, they would have no idea that I have 200+ comic books at home,' Makayla said. 'I have pet rats, I love superheroes, I love supervillains, I play video games'

Pets: ‘Most people when they hear me sing, they would have no idea that I have 200+ comic books at home,’ Makayla said. ‘I have pet rats, I love superheroes, I love supervillains, I play video games’

This time, he was determined to make it, even overcoming a test by judge Lionel Richie, 70, who’d told him, ‘I don’t like you,’ at his audition to see whether Nick would keep fighting.

In Hawaii, Lionel updated that opinion, saying, ‘I went from not liking you to appreciating you.’

The last update was on Arthur Gunn, a 21-year-old college student who was born in Nepal, but moved to Wichita, Kansas, with his family after high school to pursue music.

Nick and Lionel: This time, he was determined to make it, even overcoming a test by judge Lionel Richie, 70, who'd told him, 'I don't like you,' at his audition to see whether Nick would keep fighting

Nick and Lionel: This time, he was determined to make it, even overcoming a test by judge Lionel Richie, 70, who'd told him, 'I don't like you,' at his audition to see whether Nick would keep fighting

Nick and Lionel: This time, he was determined to make it, even overcoming a test by judge Lionel Richie, 70, who’d told him, ‘I don’t like you,’ at his audition to see whether Nick would keep fighting 

Appreciate: In Hawaii, Lionel updated that opinion, saying, 'I went from not liking you to appreciating you'

Appreciate: In Hawaii, Lionel updated that opinion, saying, ‘I went from not liking you to appreciating you’

Arthur: The last update was on Arthur Gunn, a 21-year-old college student who was born in Nepal, but moved to Wichita, Kansas, with his family after high school to pursue music

Arthur: The last update was on Arthur Gunn, a 21-year-old college student who was born in Nepal, but moved to Wichita, Kansas, with his family after high school to pursue music

Living in Wichita pulled him toward bluegrass and country music for the first time, and in an interview, his sisters marveled at his ‘God-given talent,’ which had Katy calling him ‘a rock star.’

Contestants that didn’t make it through were also interviewed on Sunday’s show.

Doug Kiker, a 27-year-old garbageman from Mobile, Alabama, had scored a standing ovation from the judges after his audition performance of Rascal Flatt’s Bless the Broken Road.

Rock star: Living in Wichita pulled him toward bluegrass and country music for the first time, and in an interview, his sisters marveled at his 'God-given talent,' which had Katy calling him 'a rock star'

Rock star: Living in Wichita pulled him toward bluegrass and country music for the first time, and in an interview, his sisters marveled at his ‘God-given talent,’ which had Katy calling him ‘a rock star’

He didn’t survive Hollywood, but more than 200 million people have since seen his audition, and Doug just had his jagged smile fixed, with both events having a profound effect on him.

He said he’d grown to believe in himself enough to sing in front of other people, adding, ‘I’m about to go do somebody’s birthday party, through my video channel, due to the COVID-19.’

Zack Dobbins, a 18-year-old construction worker from Clay, West Virginia, had been sent goggles and cowboy hats by fans even though he didn’t make it past Hollywood Week.

‘It’s weird seeing yourself and getting like seven million [people] watching you on Facebook,’ said Zack, whom Katy called ‘a diamond in the rough,’ in his update.

American Idol returns with the second part of This Is Me special Sunday, April 19 at 8 PM ET on ABC.

Return: American Idol returns with the second part of This Is Me special Sunday, April 19 at 8 PM ET on ABC

Return: American Idol returns with the second part of This Is Me special Sunday, April 19 at 8 PM ET on ABC

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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