"American Idol" has advanced three of its singing hopefuls – Dannny Gokey, Alexis Grace and Michael Sarver – into the show's Top 12, an achievement the contestants say they share with their loved ones.
"I think she is the reason for my success," Danny told Access of his late wife who died just four weeks before he auditioned for Season 8 of the Fox series. "You become the sum of who you hang around with and I've been with her for 11 years and she made me who I am.
"She believed in me when no one else believed in me," the 28-year old continued. "I'm thankful for her… very much."
Danny said he hopes his story will help others who find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations.
"When people look at me they find hope," the Milwaukee native said. "Dreams put a new passion in your life to live again. I want to get that message out to people — that they can live again no matter how bad the tragedy. You can dream again and you can see those dreams fulfilled, and I think right now, it seems like it's being lived out in me and I hope they see that."
Contestant Alexis Grace told Access she finds inspiration in her young daughter who's watching in her hometown of Memphis.
"[My family] all get together and watch the show back home," the 21-year-old explained. "Whenever I'm on the screen they always say that [my daughter is] yelling at the screen, 'Mommy! Mommy!'"
Michael Sarver, the 27-year-old oil rig worker, who is also a parent, said he's found support in his mother, wife and children – who already have their eyes set on competing like their father.
"[My daughter] called me and said, 'Daddy, I want to go to 'American Idol' with you,' so, I think she's making plans to make her own way," he said.
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