Meet Venezuelan singer Michelle Sussett who could become the next American Idol on the show's 16th season. In 2014, she left her native Caracas during the humanitarian crisis that endures today. Here's her story.

By Lena Hansen
March 09, 2018 02:13 PM

Venezuelan singer Michelle Sussett is one of the hopeful contestants on the 16th season of American Idol, premiering on ABC on Mar. 11. Sussett shared a sneak peek of the show with a video post on Instagram that captured her enthusiastic reaction after auditioning before judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

Sussett is no stranger to music competitions. In 2015, she won $5,000 after winning the Ultimate Miami Voice contest. On social media, she wrote that she bought herself a car with the prize money and gave the rest to her mother.

ABC's "American Idol"
Credit: (Eric Liebowitz via Getty Images)

Sussett came to the United States with her family in July of 2014 in the midst of the humanitarian crisis in her native Caracas, where food shortages, electricity blockouts and inflation continue to be the norm under Nicolás Maduro’s regime. Her hopes for a better life and jump-starting her music career inspired her to audition for American Idol in 2016 with no luck. But this year, she’s finally getting her shot to wow audiences nationwide.

Right before her 2018 audition, Sussett shared a video, confessing that being a contestant had been a farfetched dream of hers for years: “I still remember when I was back in Venezuela and I used to tell everyone: ‘u know? one day I’m going to be in that show American Idol’ And my mom said: ‘but you need to be in the US’ (knowing that we were too far from having enough money to come here). But deep in my heart I prayed God to bring me here.”

She also urged her Instagram followers to tune in to ABC and root for her on the reality show contest. “Tune in starting on March 11th SEASON 1 @AmericanIdol on @ABCNetwork to follow my amazing journey, my dream since I was living hopeless in Venezuela,” she wrote.

The beautiful brunette’s powerful vocals and her true grit suggests she’ll stay in the game until the very end.