Powerhouse ‘American Idol’ Dies After Year-Long Cancer Battle

American-Idol-Joanne-Borgella-Dead-ContestantsSamantha Agate | Talent Recap

Singer Joanne Borgella was no stranger to the spotlight before auditioning for American Idol. She began singing as a toddler and performed with rapper Wyclef Jean as a teen. In 2005 she won Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance, to boost her modeling career. After showing off her stunning vocal talents on American Idol, Joanne sadly passed away years later.

Joanne Borgella Showed Off Powerful Vocals On ‘American Idol’

Joanne auditioned for American Idol in 2008 at the age of 25 singing “I Love You.” Paula Abdul looked very intrigued as Joanne sang and showed off her stunning vocal abilities. Randy Jackson was also a fan of the plus-size model who said she wanted to “influence to others to be happy with themselves.” After the performance, Paula raved about Joanne’s tone and her gorgeous looks.


Simon Cowell was a bit on the fence about Joanne’s performance. Though he voted “no,” Paula and Randy both voted “yes.” Joanne was sent through to the next round of the competition. She made it all the way to the Top 24 where she performed Dionne Warwick’s “I Say A Little Prayer.” Joanne was one of the contestants eliminated from the competition after that night of performances.

Joanne did not let her American Idol elimination get her down at all. After her elimination, she was signed to Wilhelmina Models plus-size division. Her modeling career was thriving as she took part in photoshoots and various campaigns. In 2011, she served as a coach on the MTV show Made. Joanne also starred in NuvoTV’s Curvy Girls, a show that gave insight into what it is like to be a plus-size model.

Joanne Passed Away After Launching A Successful Modeling Career

In 2013, Joanne posted a video on Facebook to reveal that she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She filmed the video at the hospital where she was undergoing chemotherapy. Despite her diagnosis, Joanne ensured everyone that she was going to fight cancer with a positive attitude.

“It’s been crazy. It’s very unexpected,” she said in the video. “I’m 31-years old. I go to the doctor and got my checkups. It’s a rare case because it’s spread to my chest… but it’s really not about a stage [of disease]. God is with me and I feel his presence every day. I just wanted to share this information with everyone to let them know what I’m going through and I’m going to update everyone every week as much as I can.”

After fighting cancer for a year, Joanne’s family sadly announced her passing on Facebook. “With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne,” the post said. “On Saturday, October 18, 2014, at 5:45 AM, Joanne Borgella Ramirez was called by the Lord to heaven. At an early age, Joanne made a choice to serve and trust the Lord; and since her diagnosis over a year ago, Joanne made a choice to also be a fighter and share her journey with the world.”

The video below pays tribute to some of the amazing talent show contestants we have lost over the years.


Joanne left behind a huge legacy and she will certainly never be forgotten.


Samantha Agate
Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is a contributor and host for Talent Recap on YouTube. She graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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