American Idol stars Danny Gokey, Colton Dixon and Melinda Doolittle praised Jesus on national television Monday night, singing a tribute to Mandisa with their rendition of “Shackles (Praise You)” by gospel singer Mary Mary.

Mandisa was a Christian gospel singer and recording artist who passed away on April 18 at the age of 47. She began her career as a contestant on American Idol’s fifth season in 2006, finishing in ninth place.

All three of the Christian artists who sang on Monday night – like Mandisa – began their careers on American Idol. Danny Gokey was the third-place finalist on the show’s eighth season; Colton Dixon finished seventh on American Idol’s eleventh season; and Melinda Doolittle finished in third place on the sixth season of the show.

You can watch their tribute to Mandisa here:

In a brief discussion with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest after their performance, Colton Dixon said, “I think that song sums up [Mandisa’s] life.”

“I think she came in praising him, and I think she left praising him,” Dixon added. “We’re going to miss her, but our loss is heaven’s gain.”

Mandisa had a highly successful music career. She released her fourth album Overcomer on August 27, 2013, which won a Grammy Award in the category of Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.

Her song “Overcomer,” the lead single from her album of the same name, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart, and was certified Gold on November 13, 2014, and certified Platinum on January 23, 2020, with over 1,000,000 units sold.

You can listen to “Overcomer” here:

Mandisa’s fifth and final album Out of the Dark was released on May 19, 2017. She wrote the album after dealing with depression following the death of her best friend, Lakisha Mitchell.

“Her death shook the foundations underneath me in a way that I had not experienced before,” Mandisa told Huffpost at the time.

“I started ignoring phone calls from friends and the loved ones who showed up at my door, and I just sat in my house day after day and did nothing but watch TV and eat.”

And yet, as Focus on the Family’s Plugged In noted, “as the album’s title hints, dark times don’t get the last word.”

Indeed, for those who trust in Jesus Christ, we live – and die – “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began” (Titus 1:2, ESV).

It’s that hope which Mandisa spent her life sharing through her musical talent.

May she rest in peace and in the presence of Christ.

To learn more about the Christian faith, check out C.S. Lewis’ classic Mere Christianity. You can also listen to Focus on the Family’s award winning Radio Theater: C.S. Lewis at War.

If you want to better understand the Bible and be part of God’s redemptive mission, check out RVL Discipleship: The Study.

To speak with a family help specialist or request resources, please call us at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).

Related articles and resources:

How to Talk with Young Children About Death

Guiding Your Child Through Grief

Mere Christianity

RVL Discipleship: The Study

Focus on the Family: Faith

Photo from YouTube.