Thaddeus Johnson, 25, understands the bitter feeling of disappointment. He knows what it feels like to look in the mirror and loathe the reflection.
It was 2010 when the Oklahoma native took a risk and auditioned for American Idol. He did well enough to make it into the early stages of the competition but was ultimately eliminated.
Now, eight years later, he stood once again before a panel of American Idol judges, vying for the greatest comeback of his young life.
A lot had changed over the years, he explained through tear-filled eyes, and felt blessed beyond words to still be alive and singing.
When Johnson was eliminated from American Idol in 2010, he spiraled into a dangerous depression.
His weight was at an all-time high, which affected not only his self-confidence and overall health, but had a negative consequence on his vocal abilities.
He would find himself quickly out of breath while singing, lacking the stamina to hold long phrases. His identity, wrapped up in his ability to sing, was slipping away.
Eventually, Johnson explained, he became so depressed he contemplated suicide. But instead, he chose to fight, letting his love of music lead the way.
Johnson began changing his eating habits and exercising regularly. Slowly but surely, Johnson began to transform from self-loathing to self-loving, losing over 100 lbs during his journey.
Now, Johnson stood before a fresh set of judges to sing again. He chose an excerpt from “Don’t You Worry Child,” by Swedish House Mafia, belting out an emotional, passionate rendition.
Clearly moved, judge Lionel Richie stood up and gave Johnson an encouraging hug, right then and there. Tears dropped down Johnson’s face as he embraced the singing legend, a moment that allowed his formerly broken heart to heal even more.
The judges didn’t have to debate on whether or not to advance the hopeful singer. They unanimously voted to send Johnson on to Hollywood to continue his new American Idol journey.
The inspiring singer will certainly be one to watch this season! Win or lose, we hope Johnson knows that he’s already won what matters most: self-respect, courage, and the character to get up and try again, no matter how hard life beats you down.
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