Jelly Roll’s CMA Awards Speech Inspired the First Platinum Ticket Winner on New Season of ‘American Idol’

American Idol introduced the Platinum Ticket two years ago to celebrate the 20th season of the show. Judges only give the special honor to three contestants each season. It allows them to skip the first round of performances and watch their competition from the crowd. This season, Odell Bunton Jr. received the first Platinum Ticket. During his audition, he revealed that Jelly Roll inspired him to take the chance to audition for the show.

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28-year-old Bunton who is an airport security guard and a father of five from Arlington, Texas performed “Bring It on Home to Me” by Sam Cooke and wowed the judges. “I got here by the grace of God,” Bunton told the judges. He added that he was just six years old when he realized he wanted to be a singer. Now, he’s chasing that dream on national television.

[RELATED: Jelly Roll Energizes CMA Awards with Passionate Acceptance Speech for New Artist of the Year—”Let’s Party Nashville!”]

Jelly Roll Inspired Bunton to Audition for American Idol

During his audition, Bunton shared that his family is struggling. Currently, he’s living in a hotel with his wife and five kids. He also stated that supporting everyone on his salary has been a struggle. However, he isn’t letting the hard times keep him down. Instead, he’s swinging for the fences.

After a killer rendition of “Bring It on Home to Me,” the judges gave him a standing ovation. Katy Perry called him the best soul singer they’ve seen this season. Lionel Richie agreed, saying that Bunton has real potential. Then, Luke Bryan weighed in. “I wrote incredibly. It was one of those things where I had a chill hit my rib cage and then you hit another one and my leg went numb,” he said. “I hosted the CMA Awards and Jelly Roll stood up there at 39 and he won Best New Artist. It’s never too late,” Bryan added.

“I got it in my phone,” Bunton said. “He said the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason. I believe it.”

Jelly Roll’s Fiery Sermon at the CMA Awards

After thanking his label, management, wife, and God, Jelly Roll went full Southern Baptist preacher mode on the audience and delivered a fiery inspirational speech. “There’s something poetic about a 39-year-old man winning New Artist of the Year,” he began. “I don’t know where you’re at in your life or what you’re going through, but I want to tell you to keep going. I want to tell you that success is on the other side of it,” he continued. Then, as the seconds ticked down, he delivered a whole sermon in just a few words. “I want to tell you that it’s gonna be OK. I want to tell you that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason because what’s in front of you is so much more important than what’s behind you.”

Time will tell what is in Bunton’s windshield. For now, the Platinum Ticket ensures that he’ll make it to the next round on American Idol.

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