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Melissa O'Neil

Melissa O'Neil is a Canadian pop artist who first gained fame through winning the third season of Canadian Idol. Born Melissa Crystal O'Neil on July 12, 1988, in Calgary, Alberta, O'Neil didn't start singing professionally at a young age like most pop prodigies these days. Her mother, Alison Yeung, is quoted as saying that she only began singing "a few years ago." Her singing career was rather limited until she auditioned for the third season of Canadian Idol in February 2005. She was praised by the judges until the Top 32, but was rarely showcased throughout the audition process, which is usually a statement made by the producers saying that this particular artist is not worth mentioning. However, during the Top 32, her cover of "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride floored the judges. She was voted into the Top Ten with the highest number of votes from her group of eight semi-finalists. During her run throughout the Top Ten, she was placed in the bottom two during the first two weeks of live voting. After that point, her impressive skills and personality carried her the rest of the way, with judge Zack Werner telling her she was a "threat to win the whole thing." In the finale versus Newfoundlander Rex Goudie (who would later admit to being her beau), O'Neil received the majority of the votes and was crowned winner of the third season on September 14, 2005. Right afterward, she signed to a record deal with Sony BMG and released her debut single, "Alive," a mere three weeks later. The song would prove to be a major success, as it remained at number one on the Canadian Singles Chart for a seven-week run. The single was certified four-times platinum. O'Neil released her debut album, Melissa O'Neil, November 22, 2005. The album went on to be certified gold in Canada (50,000 copies shipped) and spawned two more singles, "Let It Go" and "Speechless." Unfortunately, the follow-up singles were unable to match the commercial success of "Alive." O'Neil has mentioned numerous times that she will be releasing a new album; however, its release date is still unknown. (O'Neil is also featured on two other albums. She covers "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride for the album Canadian Idol Season 3: High Notes and performs a duet with Canadian Idol runner-up Rex Goudie on his debut album, Under the Lights. They sing the song "Whiskey Lullaby" together.) ~ Matthew Chisling, Rovi
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