‘American Idol’ Hopeful’s Chris Stapleton Cover Earns a Standing Ovation From Luke Bryan [Watch]
Before American Idol returns with its next round of auditions on Sunday night (March 26), the show shared an early preview of a performance that was so impressive, Luke Bryan couldn't help but rise to his feet.
21-year-old restaurant singer Kaeyra sat at a piano for her audition performance, and immediately drew judges in with a husky and emotive performance of Chris Stapleton's "Cold." She started out the heartbreak ballad slow and low, then showcased the upper ranges of her vocal register in the chorus, substituting Stapleton's raspy vocal runs for her own more delicate, but just as soulful, style.
As the three judges applauded her performance, Bryan rose to a standing ovation, offering a polite bow. "I wasn't expecting that. You don't sound like anybody else," the country star said. "You can tell you've sat at the piano. You can tell that music's just been in your world. It was great. It was really great."
The other two judges were impressed, too, though Katy Perry had some questions about Kaeyra's versatility, since her audition was very much in the vein of the restaurant singing that the young performer does for work.
"If you get to go to Hollywood, I wanna hear something less slow," Perry told the contestant. "Because you have this vibrato that's really cool. All the world is not a steakhouse."
"All we're talking about is range," Lionel Richie clarified. "If we can get some of that moody voice you have and put it across a fast song, mid-tempo song, slow song, you've got all the range you need to make an artist out of this."
Kaeyra will get the chance to prove her range: The three judges unanimously voted that she move on to Hollywood week, and she walked out of her audition with a Golden Ticket to the next round of judging.
American Idol airs on Sunday nights on ABC.