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Mandisa Honored With Special ‘American Idol’ Tribute Performance


Christian gospel star Mandisa was honored on Monday’s episode of American Idol with a special performance by former contestants Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey, and Melinda Doolittle.

The trio, all dressed in white, sang Mary Mary’s 2000 hit “Shackles (Praise You)” in remembrance of the beloved singer. “I’ve known her for over 20 years,” Doolittle said following the tribute. “We started off singing background and sessions together and then she got on Idol and I cheered for her. Then I came the next season, and she cheered for me. So that is my girl through and through.”

After host Ryan Seacrest noted that “Shackles,” which Mandisa performed while on the the fifth season of American Idol in 2005, was “so special, in so many ways,” Dixon replied that the song “sums up her life,” adding: “I think she came in praising, I think she left praising. We’re gonna miss her, but our loss is heaven’s gain.”

The musician, whose full name was Mandisa Lynn Hundley, died on April 18 at the age of 47.

After finishing ninth on American Idol, Mandisa carved out a career in contemporary Christian music and in 2007 released her debut album True Beauty, reaching Number One on the Top Christian Albums chart and garnering her first Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.


Mandisa would go on to release five more albums, and 2013’s Overcomer received critical praise and commercial success, winning Best Contemporary Christian Music Album at the 2014 Grammys, as well as Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards. The album’s title track and lead single, “Overcomer,” was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

In an Instagram post following her death, Doolittle shared a selfie with Mandisa and in the caption wrote, “I keep waiting for the right words, but I’m not sure they’ll come. So, I’ll just say that I wish everyone had even a small dose of Mandisa in their lives.” She continued, “I’m so grateful to have been loved by you in a way that makes this loss so very profound.”


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