Local residents help raise funds for Alabama American Idol family

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( KTVI)-  If you watched American Idol  Wednesday night you had a chance to see contestant C.J. Harris sing.

What you may not know, because of the kindness of strangers from around the country, including some St. Louis residents, helped his mother raise enough money to get to Hollywood to see him perform.

He's one of the top 12 American Idol contestants on Season 13. C.J. Harris’ father recently passed away at a young age, having suffered a massive heart attack leaving C.J.'s mother on her own to raise the family. When some South County residents saw his amazing story and C.J.'s audition, they knew they would vote for C.J. all the way.

"CJ out of all the contestants from his audition I could see the soul in him and he
just stood out because he seem so real to me," said Melinda Pennington.

Melinda and her friend Steve decided to become friends with C.J.'s mom on Facebook and began following his story. Last week C.J.'s mom posted on Facebook that she was having a fundraiser car wash to raise money to fly to Hollywood to watch C.J. perform.  Melinda and Steve and a group of friends got in their car and traveled all the way to sweet home Alabama to help C.J.'s mom obtain that golden ticket.

"I asked a couple friends of mine If they wanted to drive to Alabama to help C.J.'s mom, we all agreed and off we headed," said Pennington.

"I don't post much of my life on Facebook but after that it made me feel really good about myself," said Steve Smith.

Around a $1,000 was raised at the car wash fundraiser in Alabama to help buy C.J.'s mom a plane ticket and she had a chance to watch the show Wednesday night. Results of Wednesday top 12 performance will be Thursday night.