The ‘American Idol’ Season 11 Auditions: Our Favorite Performances With A Message

Photo: Contestants Haley Smith, Ramiro Garcia, and Lauren Mink. (FOX Broadcasting)

The contestants who walked (read: ran and jumped onto Ryan Seacrest) out of the American Idol audition room with a golden ticket are in Los Angeles tonight as Hollywood Week kicks off. The 11th season of the show saw quite the diverse array of artists come in front of the judges. Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, and Jennifer Lopez had their favorites. Among them, college crooner Kyle Crews, single mother of 1 Ashley Robles, and THE Phillip Phillips. All three are certainly contenders, but we’ve got our eyes (and ears) on another five.

In no particular order…

+ Lauren Mink, teacher for students with disabilities
The 25-year old works with students ages 16 to 65 who live with an intellectual disability, and tries to incorporate music in her classroom lessons.

Song: “Country Strong” by Gwenyth Paltrow
Audition city: Savannah, Georgia
Like her? Check out: Special Olympics


+ Reis Kloeckener, anti-bullying advocate
20-year old Reis had a tough time growing up. Bullies pushed him around, until music provided an avenue for him to flee the abuse and gain self-confidence.

Song: “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers
Audition city: St. Louis, Missouri
Like him? Check out: We Stop Hate


+ Ramiro Garcia, born without ears/born to be a star
Ramiro is a worship leader at his Houston church. At 28, he’s come a long way since being born without ears and the ability to hear. After countless surgeries, he too can now enjoy the gift of a voice he was blessed with.

Song: “Amazing Grace”
Audition city: Houston, Texas
Like him? Check out: The Ryan Seacrest Foundation


+ Shelby Tweten, overcomes bipolar disorder through music
Since the 4th grade, Shelby has struggled with depression, and as of late music is what’s gotten her through tough times. Along with music, she thanks her mother for the support in overcoming bipolar disorder and landing her in front of the judges.

Song: “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood
Audition city: Aspen, Colorado
Like her? Check out: Half of Us


+ Haley Smith, lover of all things green/earth/environment/vegetarian
“The landscape is to die for, if you were to die for anything. [insert extremely cute giggle here] It’s beautiful!!!!” says Haley about the outdoors. The 18-year old vegetarian blows away the competition both the vocal AND environmental departments.

Song: “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus & Chaka Khan
Audition city: Aspen, Colorado
Like her? Check out: TreeHugger

Oh. And then there was Jim Carrey’s daughter…….. Who was your favorite? Did they make our list? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to check out Ryan Seacrest’s Foundation, which aims to improve the quality of life for seriously ill or struggling youth through music and more, by taking action below!

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