O’Connor attended Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, Florida, where she was a member of the choir and track and the girl’s cross country team. She graduated in 2007.
O’Connor later attended The University of Central Florida, where she studied to become a nursing technician.
O’Connor auditioned in Atlanta, Georgia. She advanced from Hollywood Week to the Top 31 women, and was selected for the Top 13 as a “Wild Card” contestant.
During the “This Is Me” theme week, O’Connor removed her in-ear sound monitor, and was later ridiculed for her choice of doing so by Harry Connick Jr.. She went on to blame a technical issue for her choice, saying:
At all our rehearsals everything was great, and then while I was singing up there, there was a click-track that was playing through the in-ear monitor like a metronome…for someone else’s song…it was off beat. It was really loud, louder than all the instrumentals, and louder than my vocal. It was extremely distracting, so I had to take it out just to get through the song.