Artist Vahhley's emotional journey from an NYC shelter to the 'American Idol' stage

Watch American Idol Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on ABC!

BySandy Kenyon and and Bob Monek WABC logo
Friday, March 12, 2021
From a homeless shelter to the American Idol stage
New York City's Vahhley shares her story with Sandy Kenyon

BROOKLYN, New York -- Vahhley is a New York City native with an emotional story to share.

She comes to the American Idol stage after spending 8 months in the shelter system.

Vahhley became homeless after her marriage broke up and she and her young son went to live with her mom in Brooklyn.

"She tells me, 'Vahhley, I really feel like I want you to be the best you can be and I don't want you depending on me your whole life," she said, explaining what led her to move into a shelter first in the Bronx and then in Brooklyn.

"It was really hard being in there for 8 months," Vallhey said. "I was struggling. I didn't have a job. I didn't have much and I didn't know what to do."

While she was staying in the Grand Concourse shelter, the director was aware Vahhley sang and encouraged her to perform at a local fundraiser. Shortly after that fundraiser, the director told her that she should try out for American Idol.

"I never felt confident enough to do it. I always dreamed about doing 'American Idol', but do I really want to try it? I was so scared," Vahhley said.

The director told her that "this was her calling" and she should go for it.

Vahhley took her words to heart and joined the virtual auditions.

She explains in the video what happened next, and what happened on stage as she performed "One Moment In Time" for Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryan.

You can learn more about Vahhley's journey in the video above.

See if she gets a ticket to Hollywood on the final night of 'American Idol' auditions this Sunday at 8 on ABC!