American Idol season 21 is still in the audition phase, and viewers have been treated to plenty of fun and heartwarming moments so far. On the latest episode, an Idol hopeful named Cody Winkler had the opportunity of a lifetime when judge Luke Bryan joined in on his audition.
Before starting his performance, the 25-year-old from Marion, Texas introduced himself as a full-time trucker who also farms and raises cattle. He said he's always been "shy" to perform, but he began pursuing music two years ago. He then launched into an a cappella rendition of Bill Green's "Under a Neon Halo." He sang a portion of the song while the judges snapped along, after which Katy Perry suggested, "I think he needs some music!"
Bryan obliged Perry's request, taking a guitar from the side of the set and playing George Strait's "Unwound." Winkler soon joined in and sang the song — with a little help from Bryan — to finish out his audition. The performance had both Perry and Richie on their feet, and Perry proclaimed, "You done good, Texas plow boy."
The judges celebrated Winkler's ability to pivot and sing a new song upon request, but they still needed to decide if they would send him through to Hollywood.
"Listen Cody, you are authentic as it comes. As a tumbleweed tumbles," Perry told Winkler. "I think you need to practice with a metronome. Your timing just needs to be a little bit better, and you could lock into some of those notes a little bit better, but you are as authentic as it gets."
When it came time for Richie to share his opinion, he gave a great compliment to Winkler, saying he reminds him of Willie Nelson.
"He doesn't hit notes; he just sings like he wants to sing," says Richie, who then gave Winkler a "yes" vote.
Perry then told Winkler she thinks there's some "fertilizing" to be done when it comes to his voice, and she voted no. It then came down to Bryan, who also declined to send Winkler through to the next round.
Although Winkler didn't get a golden ticket to Hollywood, he shared a duet with one of country music's biggest stars, and he received some solid advice from the three judges.
American Idol airs every Sunday night at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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