American Idol is officially back, and its new crop of contestants are determined as ever to win. Idol contestant Myra Tran traveled a long way to audition for the show, and luckily, it was worth it. She blew the judges away with her audition.
According to the show, the 19-year-old student — whose full name is full name is Trần Minh Như — moved to the United States from Vietnam just a year ago to pursue her dream of becoming a singer in America. "I [moved] here so I can follow my dream," she explained in the premiere episode. "[It's] the best way to follow my dream."
From the instant she first heard Whitney Houston, Tran fell in love with singing. "When I was in sixth grade, I heard Whitney Houston," she continued. "I [realized] that, oh, this is my passion. And I wished that one day I [would be] on that stage. I will sing like her. So [embarrassing], but that's the truth."
At just 16 years old, Tran actually competed on and won Season 2 of The X Factor Vietnam in 2016. She captivated the judges there, and wanted to compete on American Idol to further establish her talent and work toward her goals.
"Everybody [has] a dream," she said on Idol. "And me, I just want to sing." Her audition look seemed totally inspired by Ariana Grande: she wore a black pantsuit with a bedazzled collar and pant legs, paired with a high ponytail and shiny kitten heels. She has the soft voice and endearing giggle to match — not to mention, she can't be taller than five foot without the heels. She didn't audition with a Grande track though. She sang "One Night Only," a Jennifer Hudson classic. And though she may be a tiny person, her voice is huge.
The judges were immediately flabbergasted. Katy Perry couldn't keep a straight face and just started high-fiving the men on either side of her. "You're in high school?" Perry exclaimed. "Yes," Tran said. "I'm in a choir in high school."
According to a translated report from Zing.vn, a Vietnamese news site, Tran's family didn't initially support her dream to become a singer. She would listen to and study American music when she had the chance, but she had to do it in hiding. By listening to her favorite songs over and over again, she taught herself to sing like Houston and the like. It wasn't until someone heard her singing in the school bathroom that her talent was exposed. Then, she went on to win multiple smaller singing competitions, and ultimately, The X Factor. That's when her family was convinced. When she received her golden ticket to Hollywood from the Idol judges, they were ecstatic.
"If you keep singing, you're really gonna connect with people," Perry told Tran. "We can really feel who you are through the music. I feel like music transcends language barriers, and you just showed us that."
Tran is determined to use that barrier to stand out this season and secure herself another win.