Watch Mississippi singer snag spot in ‘Idol’ Top 12 with upbeat Stevie Wonder song

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Tanasia Kenney
·1 min read
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Jackson State University student DeShawn Goncalves reached higher ground on the “American Idol” stage Monday, earning him a spot in the competition’s Top 12.

The 19-year-old brought judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and guest judge Paula Abdul to their feet with a fun, upbeat cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 hit “Higher Ground.”

Goncalves was among those voted to advance to the next round, surviving back-to-back eliminations this week.

The Ohio native, who plays the sousaphone in Jackson State’s marching band, has the support of the entire campus community behind him as America votes again Sunday to keep its favorite contestants on the show.

“We are so proud and excited that Deshawn is representing Jackson State University and the Sonic Boom of the South on the national stage,” Dr. Roderick Little, director of bands at JSU, told McClatchy News in a statement. “I think this is only a testament to his talent and character. I cannot think of anyone more deserving. The entire university is rooting for him. We know Deshawn has a bright future no matter what lane he pursues.”

Fans also flocked to the university’s Facebook page to offer their congratulations.

“He did amazing last night!” one woman wrote.

“Awesome!! - Keep pushing!!” wrote another, adding that Goncalves was “representing well.”

See more of Goncalves’ performance below.

‘American Idol’ judges left in tears after Jackson State student’s ‘magic’ audition