'American Idol' Contestant Gets Standing Ovation, Hugs from Judges with Emotional 'Hallelujah' Audition
Cam Amen's rendition of the classic seemingly wowed the judges — and even earned him a comforting hug from Lionel Richie
American Idol contestant Cam Amen put his all into his audition, and left himself — and the show's judges — visibly emotional by the end of it.
In an exclusive clip from Sunday's final audition episode, the vocalist shared a heartwarming rendition of Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah," and also shared the story of his upbringing.
"It was a bit rough growing up in foster care, we all got taken away from our mom," he opened his audition, before sharing in a confessional, "We were in foster care a long time. I did leave at 18 and took in my brother and sister. I knew I had to raise them right and get 'em through high school."
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When asked by show host Ryan Seacrest how long he was a caretaker for his siblings, the musician revealed he'd been watching over them for five years. And when he started to sing, accompanied by a pianist, it was clear his performance would be one to remember.
During the song, Amen showed off his vocal abilities with emotional runs, as judge Luke Bryan could be seen wiping tears from his eyes.
Fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie were also supportive of the performance, with Richie, 73, raising his hands in awe and the trio offering Amen a standing ovation and applause.
"You've been through a lot, but the rest of your life is waiting on you. You hear me? God bless you man, God bless you," he told the singer.
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"So excited to let you all know, my audition will be featured in the newest episode of #americanidol premiering this Sunday, March 26th at 8pm EST/7pm CST on ABC," the singer revealed on Instagram. "Don't forget to tune in and watch me go for that golden ticket!!! Such an exciting time for me!! Let God take me where he needs me next! I'm ready to make a difference!"
Outside of the show, Amen has amassed over 17,000 likes on TikTok, where he performs originals and a few covers — including Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday," "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton, "Lay Me Down" by Sam Smith, and of course, "Hallelujah." Among his hashtags in the cover from August, Amen used "#AmericanIdol."
His most liked video is a duet of "Say Something" by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, which they performed at a competition. In the caption of the clip, he revealed that his grandmother had died.
"Thank you everyone," he wrote. "I absolutely love this song. I sang this right before she passed and she loved it, I sing it for her. I wanted to share!"
As for Amen's audition on Idol, his episode will air Sunday at 8 p.m. EST, and will be available to view on Hulu the following day.
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