Viral National Anthem Singer Harper Grace Redeems Herself on ‘American Idol’

Texas teen Harper Grace wowed the judges of the American Idol reboot with an original country song, earning her a trip to Hollywood and perhaps setting up an incredible redemption story.

When Major League Soccer squad FC Dallas hosted the LA Galaxy in July 2012, then 11-year-old Grace sang the national anthem. To put it kindly, it didn’t go well. The young singer went viral for all the wrong reasons. Pre-Fergie infamy got her lumped in with the worst national anthem singers of all time.

Failure at such a young age provided motivation for Grace. She made a list of goals that included trying out for American Idol. Other long-term dreams included moving to Nashville and recording original songs.

Based on her Idol audition, Grace developed at least one solid composition en route to her goals. She wowed the judges with “Yard Sale,” a country song about selling off a lousy ex-boyfriend’s stuff.  The show’s resident country music expert Luke Bryan grinned from ear-to-ear after hearing Grace’s “heartbreak retail” lyric. Katy Perry echoed praise of the song, while Lionel Richie questioned if Grace even realizes her immense potential.

Read More: Watch Chris Lane’s Hilariously Awkward ‘American Idol’ Audition

Grace followed up her original with a cover of Khalid’s “Young, Dumb & Broke,” which was probably unnecessary as all three judges seemed sold on her already.

Her appearance on the March 11 episode ended with Katy Perry editing the dream board to include a trip to Hollywood. The successful audition continues a rise from national anthem infamy to a chance at stardom.

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Viral National Anthem Singer Harper Grace Redeems Herself on ‘American Idol’