Syesha Raquel Mercado (born January 2, 1987) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and model. Mercado was the third place finalist on the seventh season of American Idol. Prior to Idol, Mercado was on The One: Making a Music Star and she won Florida Super Singer. Her musical influences are Whitney Houston, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Zap Mama, Lauryn Hill, and Aretha Franklin.
Mercado was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on January 2, 1987 Her mother Zelda, a former Motown backup singer, is African-American and her father, José, is of Puerto Rican descent. Mercado grew up in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. She attended Booker High School for Visual and Performings Arts Theatre Program and Graduated with a Certificiate as a Performance Major in Sarasota, Florida where she appeared in various Productions. At the 2005 Florida Theatre Conference and the 2005 South Eastern Theater Conference, Mercado won “Best Supporting Actress” for her role as the Sour Kangaroo in Seussical the Musical. Mercado also appeared as a contestant on the failed ABC talent show, The One: Making a Music Star in summer 2006.