Easiest way to bring tears to my eyes: Put me within 20 feet of a freshly sliced onion. A close runner-up: Show me a clip of Fantasia Barrino performing “I Believe” during American Idol‘s third season performance finale. I start getting choked up at around the 2:39 mark, and reaching for the tissues at the Gospel-rific bridge.

To me, one of the great pop-culture mysteries of our time is, how in the name of all that’s holy has the global music-buying populace failed to turn ‘Tasia into a major superstar? I know, I know… our birthday gal’s post-Idol musical output has been somewhat spotty, but listen to “Hood Boy,” her collaboration with Big Boi (Ellen performance embedded below) and tell me it’s not one of the catchiest singles in the last decade to not crack Billboard’s pop Top 40.

Also: Happy birthday, ‘Tasia! Haters are gonna hate, but to me, listening to your raspy, soul-on-the-floor holleration is one of life’s great joys.