Goncalves, 19, is a Jackson State University student from Cleveland, Ohio.
Before his audition, Goncalves revealed the road that brought him to American Idol:
“My mother was 13 when she gave birth to me, and my father was just a few years older,” he said. “Throughout my life, I’ve struggled a lot. But music has always been like my saving grace.”
Goncalves recalled that his father “got entangled with the street life” and served jail time while Goncalves was growing up. Without his dad around, Goncalves said he did poorly in school.
But both men made significant strides in life, he said.
“When my father got out of prison, he was very determined to turn his life around,” Goncalves said. “He taught me so many things…he really pushed me to be better as a man.”
“I started to sing and play instruments and get straight As," he said. "I graduated at the top of my class (and) got a full ride to Jackson State University.”
It blew the judges away.
“What a wonderfully beautiful example you are,” Luke Bryan said of Goncalves’ hard work and dedication.
“I needed you today,” Lionel Richie said, later adding that he was so proud of the teen that he could be one of his parents. “I don’t know where you came from, but I know that God saw fit to put you in front of us.”
Katy Perry followed with another ethereal takeaway:
“It was magic. I mean, you can still feel it right now in the air. There’s a purity, there’s a light about you. When you’re just singing, it’s like you’re an angel.”
She added in a tweet Sunday (March 14), after Goncalves’ audition aired, to ask whether “anyone else (heard) the gates of heaven open” during Goncalves’ performance.
Goncalves is headed to Hollywood with three “yeses” from the judges.
After his audition, Goncalves said he’s “just so grateful to be here.”
Watch his full audition here.
Photo: Getty Images