Now a Grammy-nominated recording artist, Mandisa Hundley—known mononymously as "Mandisa"—reflects on her American Idol journey, including harsh comments judge Simon Cowell made about her weight.
Having now overcome her struggle with weight loss, shedding 100 pounds, Mandisa says that she doesn't loathe the remarks made by Cowell poking fun at her physique (see: Mandisa's Idol audition) but actually appreciates them.
"My journey with my weight has been publicized. The moment that Simon Cowell made fun of me on national television, the world was talking about my weight," the Season 5 alum said. "While I hated it then, I look back now, having lost 100 pounds, and I'm so thankful that that happened. I'm thankful that Simon did that."
Although she finished in ninth place on Idol, the 36-year-old California native released her first album a year after appearing on the show, and just recently released her fourth studio album, Overcomer, seven years later.
The album, particularly its titular single, delivers inspirational lyrics to those with obstacles in their way as she once faced with her weight.
"Knowing that so many of my listeners are battling with their weight as well, that just helps to understand the influence and the power of these songs," she explained. "...I just love knowing that this song and this album can encourage people in the middle of whatever they're facing."
As part of the theme of "Overcomer," Mandisa has included inspirational people in her song from both pop culture and her personal life who are supreme examples of overcoming hardships, including former Arizona Congress member Gabby Giffords and Good Morning America's Robin Roberts.
Check out the video above for a behind-the-scenes look at Mandisa's music video for her single "Overcomer." The album Overcomer is now in stores.