'Idol' Contestant House Fire -- The Charred Remains

2/2/2011 10:30 PM PST

'Idol' Contestant House Fire -- The Charred Remains

The single mom who belts out an AMAZING rendition of Melissa Etheridge's "I'm the Only One" on "American Idol" tonight nearly lost her house in a recent fire -- and TMZ has photos of the carnage.

Sources close to 28-year-old Wendy Taylor tell TMZ, the blaze roared through her Houston home Friday night -- right after she tucked her three boys into bed.

We're told Wendy had stepped outside to make a phone call when she heard her dogs scratching at the door -- at which point, she discovered massive amounts of smoke billowing through her house and dialed 911.

She and the kids made it out in one piece -- sadly, the same can't be said for her kitchen.

No word on the official cause -- but we're told it was probably an electrical malfunction.