American Idol aired the first phase of auditions on the season 21 premiere on Sunday, Feb. 19, and an 18-year-old singer named Colin Stough stole the show while giving a tribute to his mom, Nara. In a pre-audition interview, Stough shared that he lives in a small, close-knit community near Amory, Mississippi with his mom and stepdad. He also delved into his past, sharing that his father was an alcoholic who left his life at a young age, and he has coped with life difficulties by working with horses and spending time with family.
"The main thing, the reason I want to be in it, is ain't nothing really come from around here," Stough shared in his Southern drawl on his reasons for auditioning. "I want to change that."
The teen confidently walked into the audition room to greet judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, immediately finding commonality with Bryan, a fellow southerner. He mentioned that it was his mother who signed him up for the show, and he then launched into a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man."
The judges were clearly impressed by Stough's raw, rock-influenced voice, and Bryan was especially excited as he heard Stough sing. Bryan, Perry and Richie were unanimous in their reaction, with Perry saying Stough has the "magic" and the "stardust." The judges later invited Stough's mother into the audition room, where Bryan told her that her son is "exactly" what they look for in contestants.
"Somebody that's just raw, real, humble," Bryan says.
The judges gave Stough a golden ticket to Hollywood without hesitation, and when Bryan asked Stough's mother to give advice to her son as he heads to Hollywood, she said, "Move over, I'm going too!"
American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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