The Real Reason American Idol's Andrea Valles Wears An Eye Patch

Although American Idol is no longer the cultural juggernaut it was in its early seasons, it still has a large, loyal fanbase. This season, the show's 19th, many fans have been rallying around 23-year-old Andrea Valles.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Valles is originally from Venezuela. Her family initially migrated to Salt Lake City before landing in Katy, a suburb of Houston, in 2014. Valles has since been performing regularly in the Houston area, and even dipped her toes into reality TV prior to American Idol, competing on the Spanish-language shows La Bamba, Reina de la Cancion, and Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento. But Valle always knew her ultimate goal was to compete in the mother of all singing competitions.

Valles recounted to the Chronicle a project she did when she was 9 years old, where she "drew [her]self on the American Idol stage." She told the paper, "It's been something I've seen since I was a little girl. I knew that I was working toward something like it, but I never knew when it would happen."

Andrea Valles made it to American Idol's top 24

Andrea Valles passed her first audition in front of the judges and has made it all the way to the top 24. On April 4, 2021, half of the top 24 contestants performed duets with celebrities. Valles sang a cover of George Michael's "Careless Whisper" with R&B legend Brian McKnight. But it was Valles look, not her performance, that garnered the most buzz during this show-stopping episode. That's because Valles was wearing an eye patch — and a bedazzled one, at that.

Valles emerged onstage wearing the pink, bejeweled accessory over her left eye. While it initially appeared to be a style choice in the vein of TLC's Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Valles clarified in an on-camera interview that it was actually for a medical reason.

In an interview with McKnight, Valles revealed she has been wearing an eye patch following a retina detachment surgery she underwent prior to the episode. While it remains to be seen if the eye patch will become a staple of Valles' appearance, she does not seem to have any hiccups about wearing it. "Things are going to happen," she said on the show, "but you got to learn to push through and just roll with the punches." While she certainly has a positive outlook on the whole situation, we wish Valles a speedy recovery!