“I thought it would be a school assembly,” Gonzalez said about that day. “Once he said, ‘What do you like to sing?’ I just started to cry. I didn't know it was real life.”
Gonzalez went on to audition in Charlotte, NC, and the judges gave her glowing reviews, giving her the opportunity to go to Hollywood for the next round.
The judges – Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban – were nice, Gonzalez said, and even though she was nervous the local teen was able to focus on her singing so she could make it to the next level.
“I was nervous because they're big stars but once I started singing I just closed my eyes for a second and I was back in my music room at home,” she said.
Gonzalez said her family has been very supportive in this process. Her aunt nominated her for the show, and the teen said she knew she had to give it her all once she was nominated.
“I don't think I would have done ['American Idol'] without my aunt. She gave me the push and once I got that I knew I had to be confident,” she said.
Her uncle has been a major influence in her life as she develops her music, Gonzalez said, and he helps her grow as a writer.
Gonzalez said she has been involved in a local music company and has played the piano for years, and all through that time her parents have been supportive of her musical dreams. That support has come through recently with the show, and she said her dad is helping her explore colleges while she’s doing American Idol.
Currently, Gonzalez said she would be interested in getting a double major in college with music and commercial music. She said her parents would like her to do something in addition to must music, and her dad is helping her find programs she might be interested.
“I’m really into business so learning the business side of the music industry would be cool,” she said.
So far, "American Idol" has given Gonzalez confidence she didn’t have before, she said.
“The confidence has been the best part so far. Now I'm saying yes to more things and that's going to help me out in the end,” she said.
Part of that confidence is shown through her YouTube channel where Gonzalez said she plans to continue posting covers and original music on a regular basis.
“'American Idol' has helped me do it because I love it,” she said.