'American Idol' pays tribute to late Grammy-winning former contestant Mandisa

“American Idol” paid tribute to former contestant Mandisa on Monday.

Former “Idol” contestants Melinda Doolittle, Colton Dixon and Danny Gokey performed a cover of “Shackles (Praise You)” by gospel duo Mary Mary. Mandisa memorably performed the song on Season 5 of the show and later included it on her CDs “Overcomer: The Greatest Hits” and “Get Up: The Remixes.”

“Mandisa’s joyful spirit carried over into her Grammy-winning gospel music and dedication to her faith,” “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest said as he introduced the performance.

Her fellow musicians, all dressed in white, sang Mandisa’s praises following the performance.

“I’ve known her for over 20 years,” Doolittle said, visibly emotional as she talked to Seacrest. “We started off singing background in sessions together and then she got on ‘Idol’ and I cheered for her. Then I came the next season and she cheered for me. So that is my girl, through and through.”

Dixon said that “Shackles (Praise You)” “sums up [Mandisa’s] life.”

“I think she came in praising, I think she left praising,” he told the audience. “We’re gonna miss her, but our loss is heaven’s gain.”

The gospel singer was found dead in her Nashville home earlier this month. Though no cause of death has been revealed, police announced that they found no signs of foul play. She was 47.

“Mandisa was an adored icon on American Idol and in the music industry,” the statement from the show read after her death. “Her passing has left everyone on the show heartbroken, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family.”

A representative confirmed to The Times on April 19 that the California-born artist “was found in her home [in Tennessee] deceased.”

“At this time, we do not know the cause of death or any further details,” the representative said in a statement.

“We ask for your prayers for her family and close-knit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time,” read a post on the singer’s official Instagram account.

“Mandisa was a voice of encouragement and truth to people facing life’s challenges all around the world.”

The singer, whose full name is Mandisa Lynn Hundley, was raised in Sacramento and worked as a backup singer for artists including Shania Twain, Sandi Patty and Trisha Yearwood before she auditioned for the reality competition show. She made it to the top 10 in the 2006 season before her elimination and moved on to pursue her music career.

In 2007 Mandisa released her debut album, “True Beauty,” which earned her the first of her five Grammy nominations. Her fifth album, “Overcomers,” won the Grammy for contemporary Christian music album in 2014.

The acclaimed singer was also an author, releasing “Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy,” a memoir documenting her struggles with her faith and mental health following the loss of her “dearest friend.”

“Mandisa withdrew, wrestled with God and fell into a deep depression,” her website reads.

Like her uplifting music, the goal of her novel was to inspire hope and joy.

“I want to encourage the people who may have a loved one who is maybe in the middle of a mental health issue,” she told WayFM Radio in 2022. “Don’t think that even if your messages are not being responded to that they don’t hear them.”

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