Top 10 'American Idol' Sob Stories: David Cook, Chris Medina & More

"American Idol" auditioner Chris Medina set off waterworks across the country last week with

Danny Gokey

Season 8

Like Medina, Danny Gokey made his personal heartache apparent from the moment he came to "Idol." The season nine third-place finisher lost his wife Sophia during surgery for a heart condition just four weeks before he tried out, and as he told his story to "Idol's" cameras, he simply broke down. "I was so close to not trying out because of the grief; I mean, the grief is so intense," Gokey said. "But I decided I'm gonna go through [with] it because I believe that people through me can see who my wife was." And that's exactly what happened, as Gokey won the judges over by singing "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and never looked back.

next: Third time's not the charm for Angela Martin

Angela Martin

Season 9

"For every heart that swells with good news, one is broken with bad," Seacrest said at the end of season nine's Hollywood cuts -- but did Angela Martin's really need to be broken more? By the time she tried out for "Idol" a third time, fans knew the most intimate details of her life: her father was killed, her daughter struggled with seizures, she was briefly jailed for a traffic violation (disqualifying her second "Idol" audition) and then her mother went mysteriously missing. "Could this finally be Angela's year?" Seacrest wondered just before Martin met with the judges one last time. Unbelievably, it was not, but we're still rooting for her happiness.

next: David Cook's brotherly love

David Cook

Season 7

Season seven winner

Asia'h Epperson

Season 7

Asia'h Epperson's father died in a car accident just two days before her audition for "American Idol" season seven, and somehow, she summoned the strength to step in front of the judges and deliver a heartwrenching rendition of

Scott MacIntyre

Season 8

Few "Idol" contestants could move

Anthony Fedorov

Season 4

Anthony Fedorov was told he'd never speak again after having a tracheotomy as a child, but by the time "Idol" season four kicked off, the Ukrainian-American singer had beaten the odds. Fedorov wowed during his audition and made it all the way to fourth place before a duet with eventual winner

Josiah Leming

Season 7

The fact that

Jim Verraros

Season 1

The original "American Idol" sob story, season one's Jim Verraros was raised by deaf parents and grew up fluent in sign language. "It's been one of my huge dreams for them to magically just hear [me sing]," Verraros told Randy, Paula and Simon when he auditioned. "It doesn't happen, but nevertheless they are at every single one of my shows, whether they can hear it or not." Verraros' parents cheered for him all the way to the top 10, when he was eliminated.

next: Katie Stevens keeps her grandmother in mind

Katie Stevens

Season 9

Connecticut native Katie Stevens shared the story of her grandmother, who was suffering from Alzheimer's, during the season 9 auditions. "She's probably not gonna remember me for much longer, so I want her to see me succeed in my dreams before she forgets who I am," the 16-year-old singer said. After an impressive take on "At Last" sent her to the next round (and all the way to 8th place), Katie called her grandmother and made her cry by announcing, "I won!"

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