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Who is McKenna Faith Breinholt? Meet ‘American Idol’ Top 7 star

McKenna Faith Breinholt of Gilbert sang her way into the final seven contestants on Season 22 of “American Idol,” airing on ABC.

She has captivated audiences and judges alike with her smokey voice, moving backstory and renditions of songs by Dolly Parton, Goo Goo Dolls and her late birth mom, Amy Ross Lopez, an Arizona folk singer who was half of the indie duo Nowhere Man and A Whiskey Girl.

“Honestly, I feel like this whole thing has been super surreal,” Breinholt told The Arizona Republic. “But now … it’s getting real. Like, it feels like I’m on ‘American Idol’ now. It feels like there’s competition. And it’s intense a little bit.”

Where is McKenna Faith Breinholt from?

Breinholt was born in Arizona. She’s based in Gilbert.

Where did McKenna Faith Breinholt go to high school?

Breinholt graduated from Highland High School in 2016.

How old is McKenna Faith Breinholt on ‘American Idol’?

Breinholt was 25 years old as of this writing.

What was McKenna Faith Breinholt doing before ‘Idol?’

Breinholt was working as a receptionist at a local medical spa while pursuing a career as an aesthetician.

What did McKenna Faith Breinholt sing for her ‘American Idol’ audition?

Breinholt auditioned in Nashville, playing piano while delivering a heartfelt rendition of “There Was Jesus,” a duet by Christian artist Zach Williams and country music icon Dolly Parton.

Was this McKenna’s first ‘American Idol’ audition?

Breinholt auditioned for “Idol” when she was 14 but never heard back.

What is McKenna Faith Breinholt’s backstory?

Breinholt was adopted as a baby before her mother’s death. It was a closed adoption, which meant she couldn’t find out any information on her birth mother until after her 21st birthday.

The story of Breinholt discovering her birth mother had been a singer was a deeply moving highlight of her audition, where the 25-year-old singer played piano while delivering a heartfelt rendition of “There Was Jesus,” a duet by Christian artist Zach Williams and country music icon Dolly Parton.

What to know about McKenna’s birth mom, Amy Ross Lopez

Amy Ross Lopez, a singer from Bisbee, Arizona, was half of the folk duo Nowhere Man and A Whiskey Girl. Ross Lopez died in October 2013 of complications from lupus.

McKenna was also a contestant on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Breinholt also appeared on Season 11 of “America’s Got Talent” in 2016 as part of Cinematic Pop, a group she started singing with when she was 16. But after getting four yes votes at the audition, Cinematic Pop withdrew before judges made cuts.

What songs did McKenna Breinholt sing on ‘American Idol’?

  • “There Was Jesus” by Christian artist Zach Williams and country music’s Dolly Parton at her audition, which aired Feb. 18.
  • “Tumbleweed” by Nowhere Man and A Whiskey Girl after her audition that aired Feb. 18.
  • “When We Were Young” by Adele for Hollywood Week.
  • “Anyone” by Demi Lovato for Showstopper Round on April 1.
  • “The Story” by Brandi Carlile for Top 24 on April 7.
  • “Both Sides, Now” by Joni Mitchell for Top 20 on April 14.
  • “Tumbleweed” by Nowhere Man and A Whiskey Girl for Top 20 on April 15.
  • “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” by Chicago on Rock & Roll Hall of Fame show, April 21.
  • “Cardigan” by Taylor Swift for Top 12 on April 22.
  • “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls for Top 10 on April 28.
  • “Everywhere I Go” by Lissie for Top 8 on April 29.
  • “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry with Abi Carter, Julia Gagnon and Kaibrienne on April 29.

How have ‘American Idol’ judges reacted to McKenna?

  • Lionel Richie responded to Breinholt’s audition with “I love the cry, the little cry in your voice. It just cut right through.”
  • After hearing her sing Adele’s “When We Were Young” during Hollywood Week, Katy Perry sounded a note of caution, saying, “I’m worried about her voice, though.”
  • Richie responded to her cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” by proclaiming her the “Queen of Smoky Voice” on Sunday, April 28s episode.
  • Perry saved Breinholt from elimination on April 29, bringing her into the Top 7. Perry told her, “I’ve spent many nights crying listening to that song and just surrendering. It’s just so powerful, and that’s what your voice does. It moves people emotionally. It opens up hearts so that they can feel and heal.”

Who else made the Top 8 on ‘American Idol’ season 22?

  • Abi Carter.
  • Emmy Russell.
  • Jack Blocker.
  • Julia Gagnon.
  • Kaibrienne “KB” Richins.
  • McKenna Faith Breinholt.
  • Triston Harper.
  • Will Moseley.