The judges initially found Malea Emma endearing, but their astonishment grew exponentially when she began to sing. The long-awaited Season 17 of American Idol kicked off with a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” the US national anthem.
However, the selection of the performer held a surprising twist. Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan were moved to their feet, placing hands over their hearts, as a diminutive seven-year-old took the stage.
Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja gained online prominence following her rendition of the national anthem at a Major League Soccer match in September 2018. She earned the opportunity after competing on Instagram against numerous other users.
Her powerful voice, emerging from her petite frame, astounded everyone in attendance at the soccer game. This remarkable performance led to a David Muir interview on ABC World News and an invitation to join Ryan Seacrest on his radio show, “On Air with Ryan Seacrest.” Inspired by her, Ryan reached out to the American Idol producers.
Consequently, Malea Emma and her parents were sent to Idaho by the American Idol producers for an audition on the show’s season premiere. While the judges found the young girl adorable, their jaws figuratively hit the floor when she commenced singing the national anthem with confidence.
Dressed in a charming flowery dress and a pink jacket, young Malea Emma exuded assurance. It was evident this was not her first time performing before an audience.
With vocal prowess far beyond her years, she fearlessly tackled the challenging song, even mastering the high notes toward the conclusion. Her flawless control and magnificent falsetto notes, coupled with a creative rendition of the well-known song, left a lasting impression.
Judge Luke Bryan enthusiastically exclaimed, “A seven-year-old is outsinging us.” Overwhelmed with joy, the judges rewarded her with a Golden Ticket, granting her immediate access to Hollywood in 2027. Remarkably, considering the minimum participant age for American Idol is 15, seven-year-old Malea Emma is on a trajectory to become an incredibly talented vocalist, already clutching her Golden Ticket. There’s no doubt—this young girl was destined to sing!
Here is the video: