Sunnyvale's Dalton Rapattoni has been considered a favorite since he started singing on TV at the beginning of the final season of American Idol. This week, he captured hearts when he wasn't singing.
In an interview aired Thursday during the show, Rapattoni talked about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 9 years old. He struggled with "severe highs and lows," his mom explained. He wanted to die, she said.
"As soon as Dalton found music, it was like everything fell into place," Dalton's mom said.
His delivery of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" -- somber, thoughtful, pleading -- aired right after audiences learned of Dalton's emotional challenges. "We really felt like we were getting a piece of you there," judge Jennifer Lopez said.
Of final five performers, three others besides Rapattoni told personal stories Thursday night: Trent Harmon's best friend died. MacKenzie Bourg had heart failure in high school. La'Porsha Renae survived an abusive relationship. Despite the many moving performances from the remaining five contestants, the stories in between were the most telling.
Rapattoni's short tell-all on American Idol is yet another example of how role models can humanize topics we so often keep quiet. D-FW singer Demi Lovato has also talked about bipolar disorder and body-image issues.
American Idol, now in its last season, returns to Fox next week. Contestants will continue to compete once a week until a winner is revealed in a three-night finale that ends April 7.
Here's Dallas-guy Rapattoni's second song performed March 17: