‘American Idol’: Reette Thorns Moves Judges with Emotional “I Believe” by Fantasia

When American Idol hopeful Reette Thorns auditioned with a song by a singer who once had Idol aspirations herself, it proved to be a lucky charm.

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Performing “I Believe” by season three winner Fantasia, Thorns moved the panel of judges – Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie – on Sunday night (March 12) after the televised Academy Awards.

This moment had always been just a dream for the 20-year-old Madison, Wisconsin, native whose road to Hollywood was by no means paved with gold. “I’m here today because my mother, I love her,” the singer explained to the judges. “I’m able to be here and she’s not, but I want to show her that she does have something to believe in.”

The scene cut to backstage footage of Thorns speaking about her upbringing. “My life has been very unstable,” she explained, “up until I was 16.” She detailed her mother’s longtime struggle with drug addiction and having to take care of her siblings when she was just a child herself. “I love my mom and still, to this day, I want her to know that I’m rooting for her.”

After hearing her journey, Bryan commended her bravery ahead of her performance. “The fact that you have the courage to grow up like you have and then come stand in that oval … in front of us is so brave.”

She dove into a touching performance accompanied by piano, and immediately began to cry at the song’s close. Richie walked over to giver her a hug and a handkerchief before telling her her first notes were “spot-on.”

“The rest of it was nerve, but you got that voice. If I could give you a big adrenaline dose of confidence, it’s in there,” he added before giving her a “big yes.”

Perry echoed, “Was it perfect? No, but perfection doesn’t exist.” She explained Thorns just needs to be supported and they’re the trio to help her. “We got you,” she added. “You gotta trust us.”

With yeses from Richie and Perry, Bryan told her “two yeses get you to Hollywood, but listen. We’re going to push you too, so I’m going to give you a ‘no’ so you work and you work and you work. I know you got in you too.”

And with that, she received a big “You’re going to Hollywood” from the team.

Photo by Eric McCandless / Courtesy of ABC

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