“Hallelujah” Brings Cam Amen a Platinum Ticket on Emotional ‘Idol’

Standing in front of the three American Idol judges on the latest episode of the competition show, Cam Amen, sweaty hands and all, made his impression felt Sunday (March 26).

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Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie listened as Amen sang the appropriately titled song, “Hallelujah.” That classic, of course, was written by Leonard Cohen (over many years) and has since been covered by countless artists, from Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley.

Amen was the latest to take on the hallowed song. And he did it proud.

The 27-year-old Indianapolis, Indiana native, who recently moved to Nebraska with his girlfriend, talked about a “rough” childhood, in and out of foster care. “Not the normal life, of course,” Amen said.

“Take your time, man,” said Richie.

Amen said he and his siblings were “taken away from our mom.” Taken out of class, crying with his brother, “crying and waiting for mom… she never came.” He later raised his brother and sister, getting them through high school. A caretaker for five years. His brother is now 21 and his sister is 20.

“Now it’s your time,” said the show’s host, Ryan Seacrest.

Wiping away tears, Amen sang. A rich mahogany voice impressed the judges. They all began smiling at one another. Amen’s voice broke up emotionally and wonderfully.

Perry seemed particularly moved by his vocal runs. After the performance, Amen began to cry. Richie went up to embrace him, then the other judges, too. It was an especially emotional moment.

“The rest of your life is waiting,” Richie said.

“I can’t hardly breathe,” said Bryan. “Your style is beautifully unique.”

“Do you believe in divine guidance?” asked Richie.

“Yes,” said Amen.

Check out the performance—which got Amen a Platinum Ticket—below

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