JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Bright bold colors an even brighter smile and a powerful voice describes top five American Idol finalist Tyanna Jones as she entered The Chat dressing room Thursday afternoon, preparing for the program. FCN caught up with the busy 16-year-old Westside High School student right before her appearance on the show.
Her hair featured five neon colors including her favorite color, purple. The room filled with constant laughter between Tyanna, her older sister and their mother, Tamara. They're just three members of a large immediate family of 13. Tyana falls in-line right in the middle of seven girls and four boys.
"We're so close in age and there are so many of us that we can't really get away from each other," said Tyanna. "And it's so much fun because it's always like a party going on."
Her parents shielded them as best they could against some dark times in their lives, including a period when they lost their Jacksonville home and sought refuge in their church.
"We decided to sleep in our church and wash up in the bathrooms and eating and cooking back there and going from one place to another and it was very difficult watching the kids sit on the floor," said Tamara Jones.
Homelessness, struggling to purchase food and living without lights or water was the families River City reality when Tyanna was younger. Now a teenager gearing up for a nationwide tour, her reality still appears unimaginable to most.
"Just looking at how all of this has come into fruition through all of the ups and downs it's just amazing," said Tamara Jones who continues to lead the way for her daughter.
"I started really singing at five," said Tyanna. "My mom she's the choir director. She would direct the choir up there and I would sing along even if I didn't know the words."
Every sentence ended with a smile. The Jacksonville native has a lot to smile about these days. From being homeless, to becoming a contestant on Season 14 of American Idol, placing in the in the Top 5 and now just weeks away from her first major tour.
"I'm excited I've been talking about this tour since I left," exclaimed Tyanna. "I've been tweeting about it! Oh my gosh it's like the best feeling ever!"
The America Idol Live tour kicks off on July 7 in Clearwater, Florida. The top five contestants will perform in Jacksonville at the Florida Theater on July 15.