28-Year-Old Had To Decide Within Minutes If He Wants To Adopt His Week-Old Nephew Or The Infant Would Go Into Foster Care

Jan 05, 2021 by apost team

Over the 18 seasons of American Idol, we've heard countless tales of hardship and resilience from the auditionees. From the get-go, however, Compton, California native Marcio Donaldson's Season 16 audition had a different feel to it back in 2018. His heart and emotions were palpable. It didn't take long for us to learn why.

When faced with the decision of whether to adopt his week-old nephew or let the baby go to foster care, Donaldson explained to the judges why he chose to stick with family –– what an exceptional young man.

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video :-) 

Donaldson had a tough start in life. Born in Compton, California, he grew up in a world of gang crime, guns, and drugs, as he says in the below video. Sadly, despite her best efforts, his mom also fell victim to drug addiction, and Donaldson and his sister were forced to go into foster care. There was always one escape for him though: his music. While he was never able to afford proper lessons, he never stopped his passion and soon found music was a brilliant outlet for all the hurt he felt as a teenager.

"I found refuge in my music," he says in the video.


Unfortunately, his sister was unable to find the same outlet he did, and soon the cycle repeated itself. She also became addicted to drugs like their mom had before them. Just 6 months before his audition, Donaldson learned his sister had had a baby.

However, due to her ongoing problems with drugs, she was deemed unfit and the police were knocking on Donaldson's door asking if he would take her son.

"The police came to my door and said 'You have to decide if you will keep this child or if he'll go into the system'," Donaldson explained.

What initially seemed like a burden soon turned into a blessing. Donaldson knew he couldn't let his nephew follow the same path he and his sister had, so he took the baby on as his own. He admits it was a steep learning curve, but ultimately it has given him meaning in life. Now, Donaldson is determined to do all he can for the little one. That includes wowing the judges with his heartfelt singing!

Arriving with only his nephew in tow, Donaldson handed his little treasure over to Luke Bryan so that he could sing his heart out. What follows is one of the most vulnerable and tender performances we have seen on American Idol in some time.

As soon as Donaldson finished singing, he burst into tears, likely overwhelmed by both the music and the circumstances he found himself in — auditioning for one of the most popular shows in television history.

"I'm sorry," Donaldson says through tears. "I so love that baby."

Lionel Richie, one of the three Season 16 judges, walks over to Donaldson in that moment and hugs him.

"Man, your voice is a real voice," judge Luke Bryan says shortly thereafter. "And that's what we're after, man — the real voice. Is it technically perfect? No, man. But it's real."

Katie Perry, the third judge on the show, agrees. "I think you're a really sensitive, emotional, beautiful, vulnerable soul," Perry says. "I think we're always looking for people to sing with their feelings, and I really like that from you."

It goes without saying that all three judges vote yes, launching Donaldson's American Idol career.

Following his emotional audition, Donaldson survived the Groups of Ten, eventually performing as part of "The Gurope," comprised of contestants Maddie Zahm, Cesley Parrish, and Samuel James. While the group was made up of the near-top-24 finalists, their performance of The Bee Gee's iconic song Stayin' Alive didn't exactly go as planned. According to Bustle, Donaldson's group stumbled through the song, with some of the members forgetting the track's lyrics. With that said, Donaldson and Maddie still made it through to the showcase round.

Donaldson's next performance was a nail-biter. Not only was it Donaldson's first live performance, but he also had to compete with Dennis Lorenzo for the last available spot in the Top 24. For what might have been his final Idol performance, Donaldson ambitiously sang Stevie Wonder's If You Really Love Me. Much to viewers' surprise, the judges fudged the rules a bit and actually gave both contestants spots in the Top-24, according to Bustle.

For his next performances, Donaldson performed Natalie Cole's Inseperable and a duet of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On with Allen Stone. Based on those performances alone, the Compton-born contestant was headed to the Top-14.

Unfortunately, Donaldson didn't advance past Season 16's Top-10 finalists. For his last performance, the then 28-year-old performed Nick Jonas' Jealous. With that said, Donaldson came away from the Idol having shown hundreds of thousands of viewers that he — a young man from the inner city — had incredible talent. 

In an interview with ABC News, Donaldson opened up about how important singing has been for him. 

"It was amazing, it kept the inner city kids doing something with their lives, productively," Donaldson said in the ABC News interview. "So I found my outlet. And I want to let others know, find your outlet. When there were times when I was feeling sad or lonely or abandoned, I would sing and my day would switch from that dark depressed stage into a sort of bliss."

 "Growing up in the inner city, it was hard," Donaldson continued. "It was tough, and a lot of people succumb to the circumstances," he said. "So I wanted to be a light for those who don't believe in dreams or don't see them being possible or obtainable, you know what I'm saying?"

Although Donaldson didn't make it past Idol's Top-10, it seems like the singer hasn't given up on his career as an artist. As part of a video post on Instagram from November 5, 2020, which looks suspiciously like it might be from an upcoming music video, Donaldson wrote "Building from the ground up. I’m in Chicago working. #StayTuned #MarcioDonaldson."

Another recent development includes a feature on the LA funk band Scary Pocket's cover of the legendary Bob Marley track Is This Love, which the band released on YouTube in 2019. So for all you Marcio Donaldson fans, it looks like the sweet, talented young man you know from Season 16 isn't done singing — he might just be getting started.

Did you enjoy that? Let us know in the comments below and tell your friends and family about it too! His story is one that deserves to be told.

Please scroll below for more stories :-)