Kimi from Brooklyn and Madai from Queens audition on 'American Idol'

ByJennifer Matarese WABC logo
Friday, March 1, 2024
Local American Idol hopefuls Kimi and Madai audition for the judges
Kimi and Madai talk about their "American Idol" auditions.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- This week, two local New York City contestants will appear on "American Idol" this Sunday on ABC!

Kimi is originally from Kosovo but now lives in Brooklyn. He was working as a restaurant server before his audition on "Idol."

"My mom said that since I was born, 'You're going to be an artist,' and even when I would cry it was a little bit different," Kimi said.

Disney/Eric McCandless

He sang "Heal" by Tom Odell. "I wanted to connect with people in my first audition." He said that moving to Kosovo and moving back to the states was very hard on him. He is in the US alone, his family remains in Kosovo.

"I don't limit myself, I can sing everything. Like I would sing Whitney Houston, jump to Adele, Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars."

In fact, music helped him learn English, which he just learned six years ago.

When he first saw the judges in person, "It felt like a dream, but I really needed someone to slap me," he said. "It was definitely something that made me feel alive because I needed it after so many years of struggle, it made me feel good."

He was star-struck for a second with Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan.

But he remembers why he was trying out. "I was suicidal," he said. "Depression is real, anxiety is real, all of it is real, but music helped me."

He's no longer in pursuit of fame, Kimi's music means so much more to him now, he just wants to make a difference in the world.

"I want them to know that they are not alone. Sometimes you are going through things and they don't talk about it, they think that it is wrong, some people do talk about it, and some people decide to take their own lives, just like I wanted to, two years ago. So, I just want to connect to people through my music," he said.

Disney/Eric McCandless

The second contestant auditioning this week on "American Idol" comes from Queens!

Madai is a 22-year-old influencer who went to Professional Performing Arts High School in Jamaica.

So, what makes her an "influencer?"

"I had gone viral on TikTok for singing in a very unique way," she said. "My fans have given me the title of Emo R&B."

But that's not all, she spent time on Broadway when she was just 9 years old!

She played Nala in Disney's "The Lion King" on Broadway. "I was on tour so that was super crazy!"

Madai very boldly sang, "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry. "She said that I gave the same energy she was trying to do when she came out with this song."

She almost became overwhelmed with emotions when she thought about the fact that this audition could change her life, but, "I quickly sucked it back in! I didn't want to sound like I was about to cry!"

Madai credits her grandparents, mom, and dad, who was a DJ, for her musical success.

To find out if they advance to the next round, watch "American Idol" this Sunday, March 3 starting at 8 p.m. on ABC and the following day on Hulu.

RELATED: Siblings audition on 'American Idol'

Watch "American Idol" on ABC on Sunday night.


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