‘American Idol’ Fan-Favorite Speaks Out About Losing 140 Pounds

by Shelby Scott

All eyes are on “American Idol” Season 20’s Top 3 contestants as we draw near the final episode. Fans of the show are anxiously waiting to see whether Noah Thompson, Leah Marlene, or HunterGirl become this year’s winner. Meanwhile, one season 17 “American Idol” contestant, Wade Cota, is speaking out about achievements of his own. In a recent interview, he shared the story behind his incredible weight loss journey.

According to PEOPLE magazine, Wade Cota finished “American Idol” as a Top 5 finalist, hypnotizing audiences with his soulful sound. However, while his singing career was just taking off, he received some incredibly hateful comments regarding his appearance.

While speaking with PEOPLE, Cota said, “There was a podcast where someone was talking about ‘American Idol’ from the night before and how incredible my performance was. And then the guy says, ‘We love you Wade, but lose 150 pounds or you’re going to die.'”

Hurtful as it sounds, Cota recalled agreeing with the critical podcaster. He also shared that plenty of other fans reached out about his weight. Many were simply concerned about his health. Sadly though, there were also much nastier comments. The “American Idol” singer revealed, “there were plenty of messages telling me that I should kill myself and that I was too fat for TV.”

Following his run on the show, Cota shared with the outlet that he began to spiral into a massive depression. The singer, who was previously capable of drinking a six-pack of Coca-Cola a day, said, “I stopped eating. I stopped taking care of myself.”

Wade Cota Takes on Weight Loss Journey Post-‘American Idol’ with His Mom

While plenty of people struggle with their weight, in the U.S. especially, Wade Cota faced an especially difficult challenge. As per the outlet, weight has been a consistent struggle for the “American Idol” star due to his genetics alone.

The Arizona native comes from Italian roots and had been raised in poverty, which means pasta, a heavy starch, was a constant source of nourishment. In addition, his father was extremely abusive, the singer sharing with the outlet, “He almost beat my mom to death a bunch of times.” He also admitted that both his brother and sister were sexually abused by his father. “He went to prison when I was 5,” the “Idol” contestant said.

“Food became something I could control.”

In 2019, though, the “American Idol” contestant and his mom, who had been a diabetic since her pregnancy with Cota, endeavored to lose weight together. According to the outlet, the singer stopped drinking soda, abandoned all sugars, practiced intermittent fasting, and adopted a keto lifestyle. All together, Cota’s managed to shed 140 pounds, though he says he’d ideally like to drop another 50.

One of the most intriguing and rewarding parts of the star’s weight loss journey is the way it has affected his singing and stage presence.

“I’m feeling a lot better and looking a lot better and I have a lot more confidence and I’m writing more than ever,” Cota shared with the outlet. In addition, he said, “Singing is so much easier now because I don’t get out of breath. I can hold longer notes. I feel like my voice has grown leaps and bounds since when I was heavier than I am now.”