Alabama singers are reaching out to grab the judges’ hearts on “American Idol” this season.
Tyler N. Allen of Mobile did it on a recent episode, performing a tune he used to sing to his 1-year-old nephew, who died in a car crash. All three judges were moved by Allen’s audition -- Katy Perry wept as he sang a tender version of “I Believe in You and Me” -- and they were unanimous in their decision to send him to the next phase of the competition.
“I knew that we all had it hard, but at some point, it was all just too much for my brother,” Lady K said. “My brother died by suicide and that was one of the hardest things that my family ever had to go through. It was hard to decide if paying rent was going to come first, because we needed somewhere to live, or paying for a funeral because we don’t have our brother anymore.”
Lady K told the “Idol” judges she chose one of Perry’s songs, “Wide Awake,” for her audition, because “it was the best song I could find to symbolize my journey.”
Her rendition of the song clearly impressed the judges, who offered effusive praise and presented Lady K with a golden ticket to Hollywood.
“You sang with such elegance, beauty, grace and filigree,” Perry said. “It’s like you reinvented the song. It’s like your heart is shining through your vocal cords.”
“I’m so proud,” Richie said. “Tuskegee will never be the same. I just know that you landed there for an absolute purpose. Listen, you sang a Katy Perry song and turned it into you. I mean, and then you had Katy Perry crying. I mean, what are you doing? .. Lady K, you’ve made my day.”
As she displayed her golden ticket, Lady K dedicated her successful audition to her brother’s memory.
“Holding this golden ticket right now means that my brother is not gone in vain,” Lady K said. “He is so proud of me. This was for Poppy.”
Lady K will continue her journey on the ABC reality series, competing in the Hollywood Round. It’s a fast-moving and typically grueling phase of the competition, significantly trimming the number of singers. Viewers will have to wait for that, however.
Audition episodes are set to air for the next few weeks, and two more singers from Alabama -- Cadence Baker of the Shoals and Tristen Gressett of Pell City -- will be featured among the hopefuls. (Early episodes of “American Idol” are filmed in advance.)