One of the lucky contestants was Travis Orlando, who auditioned last year and moved the judges with his compelling survival story.
Orlando was just one of many contenders that re-assured the judges it was a good decision to hold auditions in Pittsburgh, “the city of champions.”
Singing “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, Orlando convinced the judges he is Hollywood worthy---despite their constructive criticism about him further developing his voice.
Last season the Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent told the touching story of his family being homeless, living in a shelter, and the tough times with his father’s health condition.
His mom and dad along with his twin brother were in attendance cheering Orlando on.
This time around, Orlando’s situation is worse, but this just fueled him to compete again. Only his best friend Erin was there to support him.
“Last year after Idol aired, my mom walked out,” Travis revealed Thursday. “She found another relationship that she obviously loved more than her family. That really hurt me.”
With his voice cracking and eyes watering up, Orlando, 17, told the judges he dropped out of high school and that his father is currently on dialyses.
“It’s an all or nothing thing,” Orlando said. “It means a lot to me.”
The Idol hopeful added that he moved into another shelter with his father and twin brother when they were evicted from their apartment.
JLO told Orlando she wants him to succeed.
“Your voice has gotten stronger since last year,” Lopez said. “But, there is a part of it that you are not coming all the way out with.”
“I really want you to do that.”
Travis promised he wouldn’t let her down.
“I’m scared,” said Travis. “But, at the same time, I know this is what I want.”
“I’m doing this not only for myself, but to show my mom that I’m worth something,” he added. “I can do this. I’m not a good-for-nothing low life. I can do something with my life and something positive with it.”
Lopez seemed to empathize with Orlando.
“Scared is good,” Lopez said. “Scared makes you do things that you normally wouldn’t do.”
The bar was set high for Orlando as Tyler and Jackson warned him about the competition looming ahead in the next few weeks.
“I’m going to say yes man. I think you are worth another shot,” said Jackson. “I think you’ve gotten strong. I think you got ways to grow though.
Tyler agreed with Lopez and Jackson, suggesting Orlando to “jump out of his shell.”