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Sonika Vaid places fifth on American Idol

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Sonika Vaid sings “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel during her final performance on American Idol. PHOTO/ Courtesy of Sonika Vaid

Sonika Vaid sings “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel during her final performance on American Idol. PHOTO/ Courtesy of Sonika Vaid

By Grace Wang

Sonika Vaid, Weston High School 2013 graduate, was eliminated on last Thursday’s episode of American Idol. Vaid placed fifth overall in the competition.

One key piece of advice she received on the show was to be confident.

“Let loose in the music and leave the rest behind you,” judge Harry Connick, Jr. said.

Even with Connick’s counsel, Vaid did not expect herself to make it this far.

“It was a little nerve wracking being on the show, but I was mostly excited. It is a blessing that I made it this far in the competition,” Vaid said.

Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson are two inspirational artists that Vaid looks up to. “Carrie Underwood was really shy. I could relate to her because she was a small town girl, just like me,” Vaid said. “Seeing her journey as a super accomplished talented artist inspired me to be like her.”

On the show, Vaid had the opportunity to work with Jennifer Hudson, a contestant on the third season of Idol.

“Jennifer Hudson did not win American Idol, but she had great success after the show. She taught me that you can be very successful without winning the show,” Vaid said.

Vaid describes her most memorable moment on the show when she sang ‘Bring Me to Life’ by Evanescence.  

“When I sang ‘Bring Me To Life,’ I knew I could truly pursue music and have a career,” Vaid said.

Vaid was saved by the judges for two weeks in a row, and she felt the judges believe in her capabilities and how far she could go with singing.

“Being saved twice by the judges is crazy. The judges used their last two saves on me in a row. This feels really gratifying to me because they felt that I was worth saving, which was reassuring to me,” Vaid said.

Vaid credits her family, her fans and especially her mom for all their support throughout her entire journey on Idol. “My mom was always there for me,” Vaid said.

Vaid is the first contestant of South Asian origin to reach these final rounds in the competition.

“I am so proud to be of South Asian heritage because their culture is incredible. I am glad to be putting that area on the map.”

When Vaid found out that she was going home, her sentiments were bittersweet.

“It was a weird feeling because I was happy and sad at the same time,” she said. “I will miss the entire experience, but this is only the beginning. American Idol was a great platform for me to perform on. I am excited for the future.”

Throughout this experience, Vaid has learned a lot about herself.

“I feel like a changed person. You shouldn’t be afraid of who you are. At one point in my life, I was so self-concious that I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. Performing has allowed me to be so much more comfortable with who I am and this is the message I want to portray,” Vaid said.

Moving forward, Vaid wants to work with Disney, write some of her own songs, and potentially release some singles. She wants to continue singing in the pop genre. Whatever her next step may be, American Idol has taught her that she can push herself past her boundaries.

“I learned that when you think that you have pushed yourself to the limit, that isn’t the limit.” Vaid said. “There is so much more you can do before you reach your limit. I thought ‘I Surrender’ was my limit, but when I sang ‘Bring Me to Life,’ I knew I could push myself even harder.”

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Sonika Vaid places fifth on American Idol