April 25, 2024

It’s been six years since Kimi has seen his family, who are in Kosovo, but he moved to America on his own to pursue his dream of being on American Idol. He tells host Ryan Seacrest that he used to watch the show with his mother once his family-there’s six kids-got a computer and they each got to watch for an hour at a time.

“I would grab my mom right next to me,” he tells judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. “Me and her would watch American Idol every day. My mom had a beautiful voice when she was young, and everyone tells me that I sing just like her.”

But Kimi never got to hear his mother sing. Kosovo was going through a war. Then, two years after his mother gave birth to him, she was diagnosed with PTSD and Multiple Sclerosis, so she required a lot of care.

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“I would feed her every morning,” he recalls. “I would help her get up and put her clothes on. It was very hard, but the most hard part was I would see her crying. She would cry on my shoulders. My mom gets in a very dark place where sometimes she doesn’t want to talk to nobody.”

But now, Kimi is hoping to bring his mother a little happiness with his appearance on American Idol.

“I was just a kid,” he continues. “I needed my mom no matter what. When I would sing to her, she would be so happy that she would see herself in me and that’s why I do all this. I want to do it for my mom because she was unable to do it, so I want to do it for both of us.”

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The song that the 25-year-old server who now lives in Brooklyn, NY, chose to sing is “Heal” by Tom Odell. He says, “It’s a song about my inner child and I want people to know that no matter where you come from, you can always make it in life.”

Katy adds, “Especially on American Idol.

Kimi says, “Yes, that’s why I’m here.”

Kimi sings and at the end starts to cry, saying “I’m sorry.”

Katy reassures him, “We’re in it. We’re in the dream.”

Kimi says: “I just can’t believe this is happening.”

Lionel tells him, “Take your head out. You’re beating yourself up.”

Katy says, “Don’t beat yourself up.”

Luke says, “The bottom line is that you really have a cool, nice voice. The problem is you’re being a little premeditated and proper with it. You’re close to being like really a badass singer.”

Katy asks, “Alright, so listen. Who the hell are you singing for? You or your mom? Are you going to sing defeated like that for your mom?”

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Luke interrupts, “What does she think about Idol?”

Kimi shares, “She has no idea that I’m here.”

Luke says, “She has no idea? Would she be awake if you called her?”

Katy asks, “What’s her name?”

Kimi says, “You can call her Leela. They don’t speak English.”

When Leela answers, Lionel says, “It’s American Idol with Katie and Luke and Lionel and we’re here with your son.”

 Kimi Disney/Eric McCandless
Kimi Disney/Eric McCandless

Kimi translates that and then tells them that his mother is saying, “Thank you. Thank you to all of you.”

Katy asks, “What song do you sing to your mom in Albanian?”

Kimi says, “It’s about my country that happened during the war.”

Katy tells him, “Go sing to your mom on the oval.”

Kimi sings and then explains, “It’s singing about that you left your country, you left your mom, you left your family, you left everything. But it says that no matter what, I still love you and still my heart is with you. I’m very proud of where I come from because we went through hell, especially my mom and dad.”

Then it’s time for the vote. But first, Leela talks to her son. The judges ask what she’s saying, and Kimi laughs and says, “She’s judging me.”

Lionel asks for specifics, and Kimi replies, “She says, ‘You sang so good.'”

Katy says, “We think you sang so good, too. It was wonderful to hear that. When you’re singing from your heart and not from your head, you’re connected. When you’re singing to your mother, when you’re singing from all of that pain and the story and your background and Albania and Kosovo, all of it, that’s where you sing from every single time. It’s a yes for me.”

Kimi also got yeses from Lionel and Luke, so he’s going to Hollywood.

American Idol airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Next day on Hulu.

Next, Everything We Know So Far About American Idol 2024, Including the Judges, the Host, the Mentors, and How to Watch

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This story was originally published March 2, 2024, 9:06 PM.

source: star-telegram

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