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Wesley Chapel teen heads to 'Hollywood' after wowing the American Idol judges

Posted at 5:09 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 17:17:30-04

Zach D’Onofrio, 17, is finally getting his moment in the spotlight.

On the season premiere of American Idol on ABC, Wesley Chapel's own Zach D'Onofrio impressed the judges and was sent on to Hollywood with his golden ticket. 

The judges loved his unique, Sinatra'esque voice and Katy Perry even got up to dance with Zach during his audition. Luke Bryan was shocked at the voice hiding in Zach and said "Harry Potter walks in and slays it!"

The American Idol judges took some time to tweet about Zach's audition on Sunday night. Check them out below. 







“I’ve been singing my whole life, but I never really sang for other people until like October of 2016. So no, I haven’t been singing for that long,” said D’Onofrio.

The Wiregrass Ranch High School student’s voice has an uncanny resemblance to that of Frank Sinatra.



“My singing voice and my speaking voice are very different,” said D’Onofrio. “Me and my dad went record shopping one day and we got a Frank Sinatra vinyl. He just grew on me and I thought I sounded similar to him but never had sang it for anyone.”

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The rest, as they say, is history. D’Onofrio finally joining chorus at his high school when he realized there may be a little something there in the voice department.

“He works hard,” said his chorus teacher Solangi Santiago. “It’s his first year in chorus and he’s catching on really fast on the concepts that we are learning. He just gets it.”

D’Onofrio’s American Idol journey started in August of 2017, when he auditioned at Tampa Bay Idol with ABC Action News, in hopes of getting a front of the line ticket to audition at the next round in Orlando for the show’s producers.

“From Tampa Bay Idol I got the front of the line pass and then I went to the auditions in Orlando,” said D’Onofrio. “It was like a 12 hour day. We had to audition in front of people… and then I got that ticket for Orlando. Then I had to sing for producers [to go in front of the celebrity judges.]”

D’Onofrio also has a secret weapon, his good luck charm like none other. His decorative lucky socks. He gave a pair to each celebrity judge when he auditioned in front of them. Katy Perry actually danced with hers. Lionel Richey and Luke Bryan both appreciative, according to D’Onofrio.

“People are very excited. I have a lot of friends asking me what happened, but I have had to keep this secret for many months. It was tough, but I just kept it a secret" said D'Onofrio before his episode of the show aired.

Follow along with Zach's journey as he tries to become the next American Idol, only on ABC Action News.