Danny Gokey Advances to “American Idol” Finalist Round

Gokey, 28, was one of three finalists voted into the final Top 12 of the show Wednesday night. Gokey earned a spot by singing “Hero” by Mariah Carey on live TV Tuesday night.

“I feel a little overwhelmed by the unknown,” Gokey told host Ryan Seacrest moments before discovering he would advance to the finals.

As the show progresses, the pressure will rise for Gokey.

“American Idol”‘s format has changed with the addition of a fourth judge and how the finalists are selected. Gokey was part of the first of three 12-person groups which will perform over the next two weeks. Three people will be chosen from each group and there will also be three wild-card picks to round out the Top 12.

Gokey tried out for the show shortly after the death of his wife Sophia last year. She had encouraged him all along to try out for the show.

Gokey worked as a music director at Faith Builders International Ministries in Milwaukee prior to taking a leave after his wife’s death. He tried out for “Idol” with friend and fellow Faith Builders musician Jamar Rogers.

Gokey and Rogers both made it past the auditions to perform for the judges in Hollywood. Rogers was eliminated while Gokey advanced to the pool of 36 semifinalists. Rogers was present in the audience Tuesday when Gokey performed.

Gokey said on Tuesday he sang “Hero” because he believes everyone can be a hero in and of themselves to work through their struggles as he has.

Gokey was congratulated by Pastor Jeffrey Truitt on the Faith Builders website Thursday. Truitt and his wife Robin pastor the ministry’s locations in Milwaukee and the southern Wisconsin town of Beloit.

“It’s so awesome to see how effortlessly Danny sang,” Jeffrey Truitt wrote. “I was telling Pastor Robin that what we saw tonight is what we’ve had the privilege to see and hear every week here at Faith Builders.

“I’ve always known what we had in him and have told him so many times. Man, I’m just so proud! Remember to vote as we watch the world discover what we’ve known for 8 years! To God be all the glory!”

Gokey is one of several singers with Christian backgrounds and ties to Christian music that have performed over the eight years Idol has been on the air. Everyday Christian has interviewed former Idol contestants Jordin Sparks, Mandisa and Phil Stacey.

Links:

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/tvradio/39823267.html

Faith Builders International Ministries: http://www.faithbuilders.cc/

American Idol video profile: http://www.americanidol.com/videos/season_8/danny_gokey

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