Taniya Boatwright explained how she was inspired by a former “American Idol” contestant as she auditioned for the judges during Sunday’s episode.
Boatwright, 17, from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, belted out “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, after sharing how she’d been bullied about her weight growing up and said she was inspired after seeing Willie Nelson audition for the show last season.
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Spence even surprised Boatwright with a video call before she entered the audition room, telling her: “Walk in that room with your head held high, and just make sure you stay true to yourself and believe in yourself throughout the whole competition.”
After the teen sang the track, Luke Bryan praised her for the “solid” and “youthful” performance.
He shared, “I think you have tons of promise, I’m very proud of you,” as Katy Perry added that it was a “little restrained,” adding: “I know there’s more there.”
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Lionel Richie then said: “What you have is incredible potential,” telling her to work on her delivery, practice and then come back and see them.
Bryan and Perry both said “not yet for ‘Idol’.”Richie gave her a “yes,” so she had the confidence to return.
Richie said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
“From here forward we’ve got our eye on you, so come back to see us ok?”