American Idol Top 36: Danny Gokey

"American Idol" Season 8 contestant Danny Gokey auditioned in Kansas City and made it to Hollywood with his rendition of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine." His wife, Sophia, had passed away just a month before the audition from a heart condition she was born with, but he didn't let her down. Since then, he's started Sophia's Heart Foundation in her name. Best friend Jamar Rogers is also along for the "American Idol" ride. He also has four sisters and brother Charles cheering him on from home.

Danny Gokey appears -- and sounds -- to be one of "Idol's" strongest participants so far, having impressed the judges again during the Hollywood Night 2 group round. The Milwaukee-based church music teacher, 28, is an avid Christian. Beliefnet has the inside scoop on what Fox viewers can't see:

Gokey got well-deserved high praises from the judges, and his story clearly touched viewers. I told you in today's American Idol post that he's part of Faith Builders International Ministry in Wisconsin. Here's a little more info on Danny Gokey.
According to a contact at the church, Gokey was the praise and worship leader at both Faith Builders International Ministry locations, in Beloit, WI, for the morning service and then he headed to Milwaukee for the afternoon service, as well as doing mid-week services. While Faith Builders is Gokey's home church, he travels back and forth to Nashville, where he's been recording and working on the foundation that he set up in his wife Sophia's name.

The bespectacled artist is likely to keep on charming his way through the season, but we'll have to watch to see just how far he makes it. Meanwhile, Danny Gokey's MySpace should have all the latest.

--Leslie Anne Wiggins

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