SPENCERPORT, N.Y. (NewsNation Now) — A New York teen with cystic fibrosis whose inspirational debut on “American Idol” drew national attention this weekend says it’s a miracle she can sing at all.
Before her “Idol” debut this Sunday, Brianna Collichio told NewsNation affiliate WROC that cystic fibrosis can do so much damage to the throat and lungs as to make singing impossible. But the 15-year-old has been performing publicly since she was six years old, defying the odds.
“I think it’s kind of a miracle that I can do what I can do. So I think I’m kind of using cystic fibrosis to be an example of overcoming and pushing through and keeping the faith and doing what you love no matter what,” Collichio said.
While she has been singing for years, Collichio decided to try out for “American Idol” after a video her sister posted of her singing went viral on TikTok. She was selected to audition after that.
But even then, there were challenges. Days before her “Idol” audition, she collapsed due to a kidney stone and had to go in for surgery. Her sister posted another video of her singing, this time in her hospital bed.
“Right before I went in for that surgery, she called me and said, ‘American Idol just contacted me and they said you can sign up for a later date,’” Collichio told WROC in November.
After being forced to put off the audition multiple times due to emergency hospital visits, Collichio finally got a chance to perform before the “Idol” judges. On the day of the audition, she said she could hardly believe it was happening to her.
“You walk in, and some of the biggest legends are sitting a couple of feet in front of you. I got to talk with them a little bit about my story. I told them the whole thing. They were very encouraging, very, very nice people,” Collichio said.
In the episode, which aired Sunday, judge Katy Perry calls Collichio a “walking miracle” before the celebrity panel voted unanimously to move her on the next round.
While she can’t share her “Idol” progress, Collichio said she’s grateful for the chance to show what she can do despite the challenges she faces in everyday life.
“If it weren’t for cystic fibrosis, I don’t think that I would been able to reach out to people the way that I do. So I’m just kind of using that for good instead of letting it pound on me,” she said.