A TikTok star and a formerly homeless singer both stood out and impressed the “American Idol” judges during Sunday night’s auditions round on the ABC reality singing competition.
Shortly before performing Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” which earned her the praise of the pop star and a golden ticket to Hollywood, Lady K opened up about some of the hardships that she and her family had endured in recent years after the judges asked how she came to audition.
“It was really hard growing up with a young, single mom with no help,” she explained as the show cut to interview footage of the contestant. “There was a time where my family and I ended up living in a shelter, and my mom, myself and my four brothers and sisters were bound to a dorm. We had to make that work. That was home. I’m the oldest, so I instantly wanted to step up and to help out.”
Lady K also heartbreaking revealed in her interview package that she lost a brother due to suicide. “That was one of the hardest things that my family ever had to go through,” she said. “It was hard to decide if paying rent anymore was gonna come first because we need somewhere to live, or paying for a funeral because we don’t have our brother. There were times where I didn’t think the rest of my family would pull through, and we’re still here.”
After Lady K finished her rendition of Perry’s song, the pop star and her fellow judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan explained how moved they were by Lady K’s talent and her story.
“It’s like your heart is shining through your vocal cords,” Perry said of the singer.
The judges were also roused by the deep voice of Luke Taylor, a 20-year-old rising TikTok star who has already garnered over 2 million followers on the social media app. Taylor explained to host Ryan Seacrest that his voice hadn’t always been so low, but it deepened when he was about 16 or 17 years old — which is when he went from singing alto to bass.
Taylor’s segment began with a movie trailer-style video hyping up his audition. Afterward, I sang “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. As soon as he finished, Bryan jumped to help send him to the next round.
“Well, listen son, you’re going to Hollywood. And I don’t care if I have to cut an arm off,” Bryan said, begging him to sing “Frosty the Snowman.” Taylor obliged, of course impressing the judges even further with the depth of his voice.
While Perry ultimately voted no, Taylor received a yes from both Bryan and Richie, which allowed him to move on. “I think you’re gonna be fun in Hollywood Week!” Bryan said.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information and local resources.