Lynn high schooler Amanda Mena wows ‘American Idol’ judges at audition

"You're one of a kind," Katy Perry told her.

Christopher Willard
Amanda Mena auditioned for "American Idol" in the fall. –Christopher Willard / ABC

Amanda Mena’s American Idol audition left the judges speechless, save for an approving grunt from Lionel Richie. The Lynn high schooler’s powerful performance needed no further debate.

“One, two, three,” Katy Perry said, glancing at fellow judges Richie and Luke Bryan. “You’re going to Hollywood!” they announced unanimously.

“You are one of a kind,” Perry said.

Mena, an 18-year-old senior at St. Mary’s High School in Lynn, wowed the celebrity judges with Jennifer Hudson’s version of “Golden Slumbers” by the Beatles. Her audition from the fall aired Sunday night.

“It’s a power ballad and shows my abilities, but it also has a really beautiful meaning,” she told The Boston Globe ahead of the episode’s airing. “We can always go back to that place where we were happy.”

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After initial auditions comes the show’s staple Hollywood week, which will air in March. Idol is actually Mena’s third taste of television stardom: At 11, she won La Voz Kids, a Spanish-language and youth version of The Voice, and she was granted a rare golden buzzer and made it to the semifinals of America’s Got Talent at 15.

Since her stint on Talent, Mena has performed on Broadway and with the Boston Pops, and she’ll attend Berklee School of Music in the fall.

The high schooler was born in Salem and moved to the Dominican Republic as a baby before settling back in Lynn with her family as a child, according to Northshore Magazine. She got her start in music in the studio at the Lynn YMCA.

“I grew up listening to merengue, bachata, salsa, that kind of music, so it was something that was always in my life,” she told the magazine in October. “Dominican Republic is in my heart, is in my soul, is in my blood.”

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