For Jordin, who has been watching the show since she was 11, life in the spotlight is "awesome." "I'm enjoying every minute of this," she says. "I would have never thought a couple years ago that I would be here on this stage and singing and performing."
LaKisha says winning the competition would mean more than just a record contract. "A new life," she says. "Struggling with my daughter and being a single parent, it's always hard. And coming here and having the opportunity to now kind of turn my life around ... it's a blessing."
She's not the only parent making sacrifices. Phil missed the birth of his second daughter for the Idol audition! "My poor wife," he says. "I missed the first one's birth because I was with the Navy. But on the bright side, I didn't show any favoritism! Later on in life they won't argue [over] which one I love more by saying, 'Well, he was at my birth. What about yours?'"
Melinda, who's considered the front-runner, says she's taking a cautious approach. "All I can do is just try to take baby steps," she says. "I try not to listen to what's going on because I think we've all been considered front-runners at one point or another."
Regardless of how far these contestants go in the competition, one thing is for certain. "None of our lives will be the same after this," Jordin says.