YONKERS, N.Y. – Melinda Ademi’s dream of becoming the next “American Idol” came to an end Wednesday night in Las Vegas, the same place where the Yonkers singer fell short two seasons ago.
Ademi failed to move past the sudden death round with her performance at The Mirage Hotel and Casino. Despite delivering the news that the 19-year-old singer was going home, judge Mariah Carey praised her talent.
“Please know you are talented and you are a stellar, beautiful girl, and I wish you all the best going forward,” Carey said.
Ademi, who made it to the top 40 earlier this month, was singing in the sudden death part of the competition, during which performers were split by gender into groups of 10. At the end of each show, judges chose five competitors to advance to the next round, while the remaining five are sent home.
The first groups of females and males performed last week, and on Wednesday it was the Yonkers teen’s turn to take the stage.
In her purple pants and black-and-white leopard-print shirt, Ademi kicked off the competition as the first female to perform in front of the 1,500-person studio audience.
The Hunter College music major sang Jessie J’s “Nobody’s Perfect,” which drew mixed reviews from the judges. Keith Urban told Ademi he could tell she was nervous but said he still loved the performance.
“I just think you just have so much raw talent and so much potential I hope you get to go through tonight,” he said.
Longtime “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson said he wasn’t sure whether Ademi had enough big moments to make it through to the final round.
“I don’t know if you had enough moments to make you sail through for me,” he said. “I don’t know, you could be in a little bit of trouble tonight I think.”
This is not the first time Ademi, the daughter of war refugees from Kosovo, had been on the national stage. During the 10th season of “American Idol,” she also made it to Las Vegas but was sent home by the judges.
Before she sang Wednesday, Ademi said in an interview with Fox that she didn’t think she was ready for the big stage when she made her “American Idol” debut in 2010.
But now, Ademi said, she felt that she had what it took.
“Now that I am 19 years old I feel like I am ready to take this competition head-on and make my family, friends and people from Kosovo proud,” she said.
After she sang, Ademi said her nerves got the best of her in the beginning of the performance.
“I did try to get my energy up toward the end, and I tried to use my artistry and do the best I can with the song,” she told host Ryan Seacrest.