Amara Valerio Wows ‘American Idol’ Judges with Her Voice and Revenge Story

Amara Valerio got the judges riled up with her American Idol audition.

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The 20-year-old from Yonkers, New York, shared the story of how she was asked to sing the national anthem at her high school graduation ceremony. But just as she started singing, a girl in the senior class grabbed the microphone from her hand and said she thought she deserved to sing the anthem. Leaving judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan shocked, the three pulled up the video to see the drama for themselves.

“She just pulled a Kanye West,” Perry said in reference to the infamous incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards where West interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Video by a Female Artist to assert that Beyonce should’ve have won instead. “I got Kanye’d,” Valerio agrees, adding that her senior year took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, so she didn’t get to sing the anthem at her own graduation either.

Idol is her chance to avenge these series of unfortunate events, with Perry insisting, “I want to feel that anger.”

“Give me her name,” Bryan joked with a pen and paper in hand about the student who stole the spotlight.

The drama didn’t take away from Valerio’s beautiful voice that shone on a cover of Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows.” With all three judges on their feet, Valerio offered a confident performance that showed off her soulful pipes. The judges guessed her classmate’s name throughout the song, with Sophia, Wilma, Emily and Sarah among the guesses, the latter of which was correct.

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, but Sarah, you’re finished messing with our girl Amara,” Perry said to the camera as all three judges exclaimed, “you’re going to Hollywood!”

“And ain’t no one going to interrupt you there,” Perry added.

American Idol airs on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

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