Pretty, 17-year-old Shelby Tweten of Mankato, Minn. revealed on her ‘American Idol‘ audition in Aspen, Colo. tonight (Jan. 25) that she has been battling depression since she was in the fourth grade. She was also officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder in March.

But that hasn’t dampened her passion or her resolve to follow her dreams. The midwesterner said that auditioning for ‘Idol’ gives her a reason to stay on her meds and that singing makes her happy. Her mother even said that Shelby has a “light” about her when she sings. Reaching for a tissue yet? Judge Jennifer Lopez was.

Shelby also said that being bipolar does not define her! What a strong, smart and self-aware girl. She already has us in her corner. Her beautiful rendition of Carrie Underwood‘s ‘Temporary Home’ was enough to have her sent to Hollywood on a unanimous vote. The judges actually referred to Shelby Tweten as a “fearless” singer. We agree.

Her undeniable talent, combined with her hard luck story, is a recipe for success on a show like ‘Idol.’

Go luck Shelby. Don’t let anything — the world, the show, the music business — ever get you down!

Watch Shelby Tweten Audition on ‘American Idol’

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