Mercado was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her mother, Zelda, is African-American and her father, José, is of Afro-Cuban descent. She grew up in Sarasota, Florida and graduated from Booker High School in 2005, where she was in the Theater VPA (Visual and Performing Arts) department. At the 2005 Florida Theatre Conference and the 2005 South Eastern Theater Conference Syesha won “Best Supporting Actress” for her role as the Sour Kangaroo in Seussical the Musical. Syesha also won Florida’s Super Singer 2007
She auditioned for American Idol Season 7 in Miami, Florida singing “Think” by Aretha Franklin where she made it to Hollywood with all three judges saying ‘yes’. When she arrived in Hollywood she had lost her voice and insisted on going on vocal rest. She was seen communicating through pen and paper throughout the week. She sang “Chain of Fools” and was accepted into the top 24. She currently stands in the Top 5 American Idol Season 7 contestants.
Despite fairly good reviews from the judges, Mercado has been in the Bottom 3 five times, the most times out of any other American Idol season 7 contestant. She has also tied season 1 contestant Nikki McKibbin’s record of bottom 3 appearances.
Performances and results (during voting weeks)|Week # |Theme | Song Choice | Original Artist | Results |Top 24 1960’s “Tobacco Road” The Nashville Teens ~SAFE~|Top 20 1970’s “Me and Mr. Jones” Billy Paul ~SAFE~|Top 16 1980’s “Saving All My Love for You” Whitney Houston ~SAFE~ |Top 12 Lennon/McCartney “Got to Get You into My Life” The Beatles ~BOTTOM 3~|Top 11 The Beatles “Yesterday” The Beatles ~SAFE~|Top 10 Year They Were Born “If I Were Your Woman” Stephanie Mills ~BOTTOM 2~|Top 9 Dolly Parton “I Will Always Love You” Dolly Parton ~SAFE~|Top 8 Inspirational Music “I Believe” Fantasia ~BOTTOM 3~|Top 7 Mariah Carey “Vanishing” Mariah Carey ~BOTTOM 3~|Top 6 Andrew Lloyd Webber “One Rock & Roll Too Many” Starlight Express ~BOTTOM 2~|Top 5 Neil Diamond “Hello Again” & “Thank The Lord For The Night Time” Neil Diamond |Top 4 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame “Proud Mary” Tina Turner & “A Change Is Gonna Come” Sam Cooke|Top 3 Judges’ Choice (Randy Jackson), Contestant’s Choice & Producer’s Choice “If I Ain’t Got You” Alicia Keys, “Fever” & “Hit Me Up” Gia Farrell ~ELIMINATED~