As one of the final 12 females in the 2007 season of American Idol, Haley Scarnato stood out from the pack in how she fearlessly tackled big songs from big vocalists: her first two songs in the semifinals were "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" and "Queen of the Night," best known as songs recorded by Celine Dion and Whitney Houston, two of the reigning divas of modern pop. Scarnato didn't have any diva attitude on American Idol, though: she was spunky and cheerful, not unlike Kelly Clarkson.
A native of San Antonio, TX, Scarnato was singing long before she auditioned for Idol. She sang in her high-school choir and joined a wedding band when she was 15 years old. At the age of 24, she appeared on Idol, auditioning in the Texas rounds where she sang Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." From the start, judge Paula Abdul championed Scarnato, helping to push her toward the Hollywood rounds. She survived into the Top 24, performing "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" the first week of the show, partially in honor of her own idol, Celine Dion. After the performance, Simon Cowell claimed that Scarnato seemed like a "40-year-old," but she survived that week and into the next, singing "Queen of the Night" the following week in an attempt to freshen her image. It didn't impress Cowell, but it was enough to keep her on another week.