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Former ‘American Idol’ stars pay tribute to the late Mandisa with special performance

“AI” alums Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey and Melinda Doolittle took the stage in the late singer’s honor on April 29.
Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey and Melinda Doolittle paying tribute to the late Mandisa.
Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey and Melinda Doolittle paying tribute to the late Mandisa.Eric McCandless / Disney
/ Source: TODAY

It was a night of honoring the late Mandisa.

During the April 29 episode of “American Idol,” former contestants Colton Dixon, Danny Gokey and Melinda Doolittle paid tribute to the gospel singer who died in April with a special performance.

All dressed in white, the trio took the stage and sang “Shackles” by Mary Mary, before sharing kind words about their late friend.

“I’ve known her for over 20 years,” Doolittle said after the performance. “We started off singing background and sessions together and then she got on ‘Idol’ and I cheered for her. Then I came the next season, and she cheered for me. So that is my girl through and through.”

Host Ryan Seacrest then asked Gokey how he thinks Mandisa would like to be remembered.

He said that one of the things that stuck out to him was “she was a fan of people. She was a cheerleader for other people’s music.” Gokey recalled being dropped by a record label and signed by another, “She had the biggest voice for me.”

Additionally, Dixon said that the song they performed that night, “Shackles,” “sums up her life.”

“I think she came in praising, I think she left praising,” he continued, adding that they miss her. “Our loss is heaven’s gain.”

"American Idol" Season Five  Mandisa Hundley, 29, from Antioch, Tennessee.
Mandisa Hundley performing on "American Idol" Season Five.Ray Mickshaw / WireImage

Mandisa, whose given name was Mandisa Lynn Hundley, died at the age of 47 on April 18.

At the time, her representative confirmed to that the Grammy-winning gospel singer was found dead at her home in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We can confirm that yesterday Mandisa was found in her home deceased,” her representative said in a statement on April 19. “At this time we do not know the cause of death or any further details. We ask for your prayers for her family and close knit circle of friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

An additional statement posted on her Facebook added, “Mandisa was a voice of encouragement and truth to people facing life’s challenges all around the world. She wrote this song for a dear friend who had passed in 2017.”

It then shared the song “You Wouldn’t Cry (Andrew’s Song).”

The singer was a contestant on Season Five of “American Idol” in 2006. As a finalist, she finished in ninth place.

Following news of her death in April, the official “American Idol” Instagram paid tribute, writing, “Mandisa was an adored icon on 'American Idol' and in the music industry. Her passing has left everyone on the show heartbroken, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family.”