'American Idol': Lauren Mascitti’s Top 21 Journey Highlighted by ‘God Made a Woman’ Moment Honoring Her Nana (Exclusive)

Lauren Mascitti is recalling the days leading into her American Idol solo performance during Hollywood Week and the second-thoughts that crept in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com. Despite winning over the judges initially with an original song called “If I Can Lose You” during her audition, Mascitti began to feel a rush of emotions pour over her as her and the other contestants were doing soundchecks. After hearing how well the others were doing with the backing of the band — Mascitti would be without that support as she was doing an original — she thought to herself, ‘Oh man, I don’t know.’ So she called the one person nearest to her heart.

Her Nana, who was in Hollywood with her but in a separate facility during the soundchecks, picked up as Mascitti explained to her that she thinks this might not work. After a quick back-and-forth and some words of encouragement, Mascitti felt much better about sticking with her original song, “God Made A Woman.” Thanks to her Nana’s calming presence, Mascitti went out with just “my little guitar and singing a little song” and put forth one of the season’s strongest performances. The song not only won the judges over, but it became a highly-demanded song from the fan base. God Made a Woman even climbed up to No. 4 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart, behind the likes of SOUTHSIDE by Sam Hunt and What You See Is What You Get by Luke Combs.

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Speaking to PopCulture, Mascitti, who saw her run on the show end in in a final vote for the last Top 20 spot, expressed her gratitude over the early success of her title track, adding that she’s “just praising the Lord” through all of this. “I can’t even imagine that whenever I sang it on the show that I would dream it would get that big of a reaction from everybody,” Mascitti explained. “It really means a lot because I’ve always been an independent artist my whole life.. I just feel really blessed. This is what I have dreamed of my whole life and I can’t believe it’s happening.”

As for the song itself, it’s no surprise that Mascitti drew inspiration from her Nana. Early on, her grandparents raised and adopted her, and she said she owes everything she has accomplished to them. To her, Nana is everything all-in-one, calling her her “cheerleader, "best friend” and an “awesome” mother. Fans of American Idol were introduced to the two’s strong bond as Mascitti continued to advance all the way into the Hawaii round where Nana got to experience the tropical paradise for the first time. God Made a Woman drew a ton of inspiration from Nana, says Mascitti, but also takes in her experience as a nurse and her strong Christian faith.

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“I got to thinking one day about the beautiful things that make women different from men,” Mascitti noted. “God created us to be emotional and passionate and mothers and daughters and sisters, I was really meditating on those things for a while one day and I just started thinking about my Nana and what being a woman means to me.” When Mascitti went out and performed the song in front of the judges and her peers, she was blown away after rewatching it on her own television and seeing how Lionel Richie was so responsive to the song. As she put it, getting the man who co-wrote “We Are The World” is a major stamp of approval. More importantly, though, Mascitti was just so proud to be able to direct the spotlight onto her Nana after all she did for her growing up.

“I know whenever I watched it on TV for the first time I just sobbed like a baby whenever I saw my Nana come up on there. She’s just the greatest Mom I could have ever asked for and she was always the one behind the camera and shining the spotlight on me my whole life,” Mascitti shared. “I’ve always wanted to tell the world just how wonderful she is and how awesome of a mother she’s been for me. I never had the platform to be able to do that so just knowing that the entire world got to see her face and to know the huge impact she has had on my life, that makes it a 100% worth it for me.”

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With such an emotional attachment to the song, Mascitti said there was “never a doubt” she would be playing it in Hollywood, even if she may have had a little moment of pause during soundcheck. “I knew whatever happens after this, I got to come on TV and tell the world about my Nana,” she concluded.

American Idol will air its next episode from the Top 20's homes on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC after last Sunday's episode featured the first-ever at-home version of the competition, which included Francisco Martin covering a Katy Perry song in front of the judges. Mascitti's God Made a Woman is available on all streaming platforms now.