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Isabel Gonzalez Charms ‘American Idol’ Judges with ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’

On tonight’s audition episode of ‘American Idol’ (Jan. 23) at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, 16-year-old Isabel Gonzalez delivered a stunning rendition of Sam Cooke’s ‘Nothing Can Change This Love.’ Her talent and youthful charm won over judges Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey, who happily sent her on to Hollywood.

“Is this your dream?” Jackson asked once Gonzalez stepped into the room. “You’d ditch high school and just do it?” Her answer was an enthusiastic, “Oh, heck yeah!” In fact, her excitement was so contagious that it was hard to believe it wasn’t her idea to audition for ‘Idol’ in the first place. Unbeknownst to her, the high-schooler was nominated by her aunt, who thought she would be too nervous to do it on her own.

Surprise or not, Gonzalez rose to the occasion wonderfully, immediately capturing the judges’ attention with her rich, soulful performance. “I’m absolutely, head-over-heels in love with you,” gushed Minaj. “You’re doing it all so effortlessly. Urban agreed, stating, “You’re a natural…like you’re just born to do it.” Carey was sure to chime in with similar thoughts: “People are going to fall in love with you, because you’re a star.” She even went so far as to liken her to a young Phoebe Cates, a comparison which earned several nods from her fellow panelists.

The decision to send her on to compete in the 12th season of ‘Idol’ was unanimous, leaving everyone in high spirits. “That’s how you do it. You come in looking like a star,” Urban remarked appreciatively. “I’m on top of the world right now,” Gonzalez said, beaming.

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