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Hollie Cavanagh

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Hollie Cavanagh

Hollie Cavanagh
Birth name Hollie Jessica Cavanagh
Born (1993-07-05) 5 July 1993
Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Origin McKinney, Texas, United States
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2010–present

Hollie Jessica Cavanagh[1] (born 5 July 1993) is a British-American singer, originally from Liverpool, living in McKinney, Texas.[2][3] She placed fourth on the eleventh season of American Idol.[4][5]

Early life

Hollie Cavanagh was born in Liverpool to Lorraine and Peter Cavanagh, She has two older brothers Luke and Aaron Cavanagh, she hailed from the Liverpudlian suburb Allerton, and moved to the United States in 2002.[6] She started singing when she was fifteen years old and has been singing for a few years before she joined American Idol. Cavanagh is a fan of Liverpool F.C., attended St Austin’s Primary School in Aigburth and graduated from McKinney Boyd High School (where she played soccer) in 2011. She has a Lab and Golden Retriever mix named Shankly.[7] Cavanagh's musical influences include Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Adele, Whitney Houston, and Celine Dion.[8]

American Idol


Cavanagh originally auditioned for season 10 in Austin, Texas, but was cut in the Green Mile Round. However, Jennifer Lopez told Hollie that she could win the competition next season by practicing and improving her singing.[9] Next year, Cavanagh got a second chance for season 11 and auditioned in Houston, Texas, but was not given a lot of screen time compared to her screen time the previous season. She was only shown in the Las Vegas Round performing a medley of "Mr. Sandman" by The Chordettes and "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes with Naomi Gillies and Marissa Pontecorvo and in the Green Mile Round with fellow American Idol contestants, Shelby Tweten and Ariel Sprague. She sang "Change" by Carrie Underwood in the Sing for Your Life Round and was given nice feedback by the judges.[10] She advanced to the next round.

In the semi-finals, she sang "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera. Her performance received praise from the judges, with Lopez saying that Hollie could win the show,[3] while Steven Tyler wanted her to let her hair down, but called her performance beautiful.[11] Amy Sciaretto from PopCrush wrote that "She's a frontrunner, and she attempted to slay a pretty big dragon, since Xtina is so difficult to emulate due to her range. While there were some slightly off parts, Cavanagh still handled it like a diva-in-training."[11] Cavanagh was advanced to the following week by voters, and during the Top 13 performance show, she sang Whitney Houston's version of "All the Man That I Need". Randy Jackson and Tyler told her that she nailed Houston's song, while Lopez lauded her saying, "That’s the Hollie that I know. You're the one. We might have a sing off between two girls in the finale, and that’s what I want!"[12] For the Top 11 performance show, Cavanagh once again earned praise singing Celine Dion's "The Power of Love". In her mentoring session with and Jimmy Iovine, and Iovine were both extremely impressed with Cavanagh's range, saying "Where’s all that power coming from? [...] You got amplifiers in your pockets?"[13] Tyler commented "I don't know where your voice comes from. It’s heaven above",[13] while Jackson and Lopez, while praising the performance, pointed out minor pitch issues, though Jackson said that she blew the song out of the box.[13] Brian Mansfield from USA Today commented that "She knows she hasn't made a safe choice, but she says now's not the time to play safe. Lots of big ballads tonight, but I think Hollie's may be the best."[14]

Having been voted through to the next round once again, Cavanagh sang Billy Joel's "Honesty" at the Top 10 performance show. The judges' reactions to the performance were mixed, saying that she was over-thinking it.[15] Prior to the performance, Iovine and the show's stylist Tommy Hilfiger had changed the way Cavanagh dressed, pointing out fashion as her only weakness.[15] At the Top 9 performance show, she sang "Jesus, Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood. Jackson said that she had problems with her lower range register, while Lopez said it was one of her best performances in terms of connecting with the song. Tyler stated that the song choice was wrong.[16][17] For the first time, Cavanagh fell to the bottom 3, but was sent to safety when Heejun Han was eliminated.[18] Cavanagh was once again in the bottom 3 after her performance of "Flashdance... What a Feeling" at the Top 8 performance show. Tyler said that her pitch was all over the place, but she arrived at the end. Like previous performances, all judges agreed that she was over-thinking it.[19] She was again sent to the bottom 3, but was declared safe first as DeAndre Brackensick was eliminated.

At the Top 7 performance show, Cavanagh sang "Perfect" by Pink receiving mixed feedback from the judges. The judges all agreed that it wasn't quite perfect.[20] However, many people disagreed with the judges and thought their comments were unfair.[21] On results night, she was declared safe as Jessica Sanchez was eliminated, but then saved by the judges.[22]

At the second Top 7 performance night (as the judges had saved Jessica the previous week, resulting in a repeat of the Top 7) Cavanagh sang Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". The performance, which began in a cappella, received praise from the judges, who highlighted improvement compared to previous weeks, but didn't say it was perfect.[23] For her second performance, she sang "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield which earned even more positive feedback from the judges than her first.[24] While ending up in the bottom 3 again, she was safe while Colton Dixon was eliminated.[25] On the top 6 performance show, Cavanagh sang Queen's "Save Me" and received mixed feedback from the judges. Her rendition of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" (which was her initial audition song in season 10) earned her a standing ovation from the judges.[26] She ended up in the bottom 3 again, but was safe as Elise Testone was eliminated. On the Top 5 performance show, Cavanagh sang Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep – Mountain High" and earned a standing ovation from two thirds of the judges.'s Michael Slezak also thought positively of the performance saying, "[...] “River Deep, Mountain High” was a study in sublime power vocals, without any unnecessary embellishments. [...] Hollie held back on the melisma and the vibrato and the riffing, delivering a classic melody with heart and soul, [...] The “I love you, baby” breakdown was one of my favorite musical moments of the season, and you can’t really argue with a little flirty interplay with the bongo drummer, either."[27] Later that night, Cavanagh performed "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis which garnered her more positive feedback. Lopez commented on how it was beautiful and intimate, while Jackson said she was peaking at the right time.[28] On the results show, she ended up in the bottom 2 with Skylar Laine, but was safe as Skylar was eliminated.[29]

On the Top 4 performance show, Cavanagh performed "Faithfully" by Journey. The performance earned her positive reviews from the judges repeating that she was peaking at the right time.[30] For her second performance, Cavanagh performed Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me". The judges gave her negative reviews stating that she did not connect with the song. On results night, she was eliminated and her final song was "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus.

On the season 11 finale, Cavanagh performed "You'll Never Walk Alone" by American Idol season 6 winner, Jordin Sparks.


Season 10

Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice "At Last" Ray Eberle & Pat Friday N/A Advanced
"The Climb" Miley Cyrus
Hollywood Round, Part 1 First Solo "When I Look at You" Miley Cyrus N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 2 Group Performance "Grenade" Bruno Mars N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 3 Second Solo Not aired N/A Advanced
Las Vegas Round The Beatles
Group Performance
"Yesterday" The Beatles N/A Advanced
Final Judgement Final Solo "No One" Alicia Keys N/A Eliminated

Season 11

Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice Not aired N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 1 First Solo Not aired N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 2 Group Performance Not aired N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 3 Second Solo Not aired N/A Advanced
Las Vegas Round Songs from the 1950s
Group Performance
"Mr. Sandman" / "Please Mr. Postman" The Chordettes / The Marvelettes N/A Advanced
Final Judgment Final Solo "Change" Carrie Underwood N/A Advanced
Top 25 (12 Women) Personal Choice "Reflection" Christina Aguilera 8 Advanced
Top 13 Whitney Houston "All the Man That I Need" Linda Clifford 10 Safe
Top 11 Year They Were Born "The Power of Love" Jennifer Rush 11 Safe
Top 10 Billy Joel "Honesty" Billy Joel 7 Safe
Top 9 Their Personal Idols Solo "Jesus, Take the Wheel" Carrie Underwood 5 Bottom 3
Trio "Like a Prayer" / "Borderline" / "Express Yourself"
with Skylar Laine & Jessica Sanchez
Madonna 11
Top 8 Songs from the 1980s Duet "I'm So Excited"
with DeAndre Brackensick
The Pointer Sisters 5 Bottom 3
Solo "Flashdance... What a Feeling" Irene Cara 9
Top 7 Songs from the 2010s Solo "Perfect" Pink 7 Safe
Trio "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
with Joshua Ledet & Jessica Sanchez
Kelly Clarkson 9
Top 7 Songs from Now & Then "Rolling in the Deep" Adele 1 Bottom 3
"Son of a Preacher Man" Dusty Springfield 8
Top 6 Queen "Save Me" Queen 6 Bottom 3
Contestant's Choice "The Climb" Miley Cyrus 12
Top 5 Songs from the 1960s Solo "River Deep – Mountain High" Ike & Tina Turner 1 Bottom 2
Trio "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
with Skylar Laine & Jessica Sanchez
Jackie Wilson 9
British Pop "Bleeding Love" Leona Lewis 7
Top 4 California Dreamin' Solo "Faithfully" Journey 2 Eliminated
Duet "Eternal Flame"
with Jessica Sanchez
The Bangles 6
Quartet "Waiting for a Girl Like You"
with Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips & Jessica Sanchez
Foreigner 7
Songs They Wish They'd Written "I Can't Make You Love Me" Bonnie Raitt 9
  • ^Note 1 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Cavanagh was among the Bottom 3, but declared safe second, as Heejun Han was eliminated.
  • ^Note 2 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Cavanagh was among the Bottom 3, but declared safe first.
  • ^Note 3 Due to the judges using their one save on Jessica Sanchez, the Top 7 remained intact for another week.
  • ^Note 4 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Cavanagh was among the Bottom 3, but declared safe second, as Colton Dixon was eliminated.
  • ^Note 5 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Cavanagh was among the bottom 3, but declared safe second, as Elise Testone was eliminated.
  • ^Note 6 When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Cavanagh was in the bottom 2, but declared safe, as Skylar Laine was eliminated.


Cavanagh took part in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2012, which began 6 July 2012 and ran until 21 September 2012.[31] Cavanagh performed two solo songs, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele and "Give Your Heart a Break" by Demi Lovato.

Cavanagh is currently recording an album in Los Angeles and will be released later this year.[32]

Her debut single "Outer Limit" was released on 15 July 2013.[33]


Extended plays

Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
American Idol Season 11 Highlights (Hollie Cavanagh EP)
  • Released: 3 July 2012
  • Label: 19 Recordings
  • Formats: CD


Year Single Album
2013 "Outer Limit" Single


  1. ^ "Twitter / CavanaghAI11: @Eben_Rocks jessica (:". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "McKinney resident Hollie Cavanagh talk about 'American Idol' success". 3 March 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Hollie Cavanagh on American Idol: The Female Favorite?". 1 March 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "American Idol – Access Hollywood". Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Hollie Cavanagh". Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Miles, Tina (28 February 2012). "Liverpool-born American Idol singer Hollie Cavanagh makes it into the top 24 finalists".  
  7. ^ "McKinney's Hollie Cavanagh a Top-10 Vote Getter on American Idol!". 1 March 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Hollie Cavanagh". 
  9. ^ "About Hollie Cavanagh | Hollie Cavanagh". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Jenny McGrath (23 February 2012). "Watch Hollie Cavanagh Sing "Change" in American Idol 2012 Final Judgment, Part 2 on February 23, 2012 – Video – American Idol". Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Hollie Cavanagh Finds Her ‘Reflection’ During ‘American Idol’ Live Performance". 29 February 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "‘American Idol’ Contestant Hollie Cavanagh Proves She Is All the Idol We Need". 8 March 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c "Hollie Cavanagh Proves ‘The Power of Love’ on ‘American Idol’". 14 March 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "'"Hollie Cavanagh: 'The Power of Love. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "'"Hollie Cavanagh: 'Honesty. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "'"Hollie Cavanagh: 'Jesus, Take the Wheel. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "‘American Idol’ Hopeful Hollie Cavanagh Lets ‘Jesus Take the Wheel’". Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  18. ^ "Heejun Han Eliminated on ‘American Idol’". Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "‘American Idol’ Hopeful Hollie Cavanagh Sings ‘What a Feeling’ From ‘Flashdance’". Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "American Idol 2012 Top 7: Hollie Cavanagh – ‘Perfect’ by Pink (VIDEO)". Snark Food. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "‘American Idol’: Did Hollie Cavanagh deserve the judges’ wrath for ‘Perfect’? – Zap2it". 12 April 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  22. ^ American Idol": Jessica Sanchez saved by judges on crazy, crazy night""". CBS News. 
  23. ^ "'"Hollie Cavanagh: 'Rolling in the Deep. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  24. ^ "American Idol Host Seacrest Honors Mentor, Dick Clark". Alaska Dispatch. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  25. ^ Miles, Tina. "Liverpool-born Hollie Cavanagh makes in final six of American Idol after a message from LFC – Liverpool Local News – News". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  26. ^ "'"Hollie Cavanagh, Jessica Sanchez and Skylar Laine top mediocore 'American Idol. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  27. ^ Slezak, Michael (1 May 2012). "Idology: Hollie Cavanagh Rises! Plus: Decoding J.Lo’s Subtext!". TVLine. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  28. ^ American Idol': Hollie Cavanagh peaking at right time – Orlando Sentinel"'". 2 May 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  29. ^ Etkin, Jaimie (4 May 2012). American Idol's' Toughest Elimination Yet"'". Huffington Post. 
  30. ^ "Now Trending: Hollie Cavanagh Faithfully American idol top 4 Video". 9 May 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  31. ^ American Idol Live tour kicks off in Detroit. (8 July 2012). Retrieved on 19 July 2013.
  32. ^ Tina Miles (28 December 2012). "Liverpool American Idol star Hollie Cavanagh hits the recording studio (VIDEO)". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  33. ^ iTunes – Music – Outer Limit – Single by Hollie Cavanagh. (15 July 2013). Retrieved on 19 July 2013.
  34. ^ "Billboard 200 Chart: American Idol Season 11 Highlight CD". Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  35. ^ Mansfield, Brian (19 September 2012). "Underwood, Phillips top the week's 'Idol' sales". Idol Chatter (USA Today). Retrieved 19 September 2012. 

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