Zoanette Johnson/photo from Fox

 

Zoanette Johnson's journey from Liberia to the top 20 on "American Idol" went through Minnesota. Johnson, who wowed the judges Wednesday night, fled Africa at the age of 2 with her family, grew up in Twin Cities and graduated from Anoka High School, according to Fox 9.

Johnson, 20, currently lives in Tulsa where she works as a habilitation specialist.

Her performance Wednesday has to be one of the most startling and controversial this season. She sang "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King." Wait, did I say "sing"? She more or less screamed the Elton John number, barely acknowledging the need to hit the proper notes. But the judges went crazy for her spirit with Keith Urban nicknaming her "Queen of the Jungle" and Mariah Carey noting that "your spirit is too big to contain."

Viewing audiences will get their own chance to weigh in on Johnson's talent when the show goes live starting Tuesday.