Nashville-based singer Tristan McIntosh is the American Idol singer everyone is talking about Friday morning. Her version of Mickey Guyton’s “Why Baby Why?” was stunning, but it was the surprise from her mom that was a show-stopper.

The 15-year-old’s performance aired during Thursday night’s episode of the reality show’s final season. McIntosh traveled from Nashville to Little Rock, Ark. to audition. Her father joined her, but she was really missing her mother, a Major in the Army who’d been deployed to the Middle East.

“It’s just really weird that she’s not here for something of this magnitude,” McIntosh says with equal parts sadness and understanding.

Her performance was good enough to give judge Jennifer Lopez "goosies" and make big fans of Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban. The panel likely knew what was coming next. As the young singer teared up talking about why her mother couldn’t be there, Connick Jr. read a note from Maj. Amy McIntosh, in which she explained how proud she is of her daughter.

And then, Mom enters from stage right. Urban was dabbing away tears even before the two reunited. Maj. McIntosh was able to to hand her daughter a Golden Ticket to Hollywood, but it wasn’t earned purely on an emotional story.

In fact, Lopez says, “She might win."

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