Katy Perry Gives Fire Wilmore a Second Chance on ‘American Idol’

American Idol has no shortage of emotional moments. Yet another came Sunday night (March 19) as judge Katy Perry gave a contestant another chance to audition after her first didn’t earn her a “golden ticket.”

Videos by American Songwriter

The contestant, 22-year-old Fire Wilmore, opened up about her mother’s prior struggles with drug addiction, which led her to be put “into state custody” at a young age. She then introduced herself as a dancer, which prompted Perry to ask about the kind of dancing she does. The young singer quietly whispered that she was a stripper.

Despite the difficulties in her life, Wilmore said that having her daughter at 18 has become one of the greatest sources of joy in her life.

“The world’s not designed for single moms to be successful, so I did what I had to do,” she said. “I need to do better. I need to get away from dancing. I need to do this for me. I need to do this for my daughter.”

For her audition, Wilmore sang Bruno Mars’ lulling “Talking to the Moon.” While running through the song, Perry pushed her to sing the falsetto notes in her chest voice.

“I just think you need to be pushed,” fellow judge Lionel Richie said after Wilmore wrapped up her audition. “The more you discover, you won’t even think about being nervous.”

Luke Bryan added that he appreciated Wilmore’s story, but wanted more from her performance.

“I wanted your voice to be more,” he said. “You’ve lived in such complicated backgrounds and scenarios, maybe this show, and we as judges could push you and encourage you to really go for it. Vocally though, it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.”

Perry echoed those thoughts, saying she “nailed” the notes she gave her but, there “wasn’t enough fire” in her performance.

Perry gave the singer a “yes” but, Richie and Bryan voted no. The audition then took a turn as Wilmore’s 4-year-old ran up and grabbed the “golden ticket” off the shelf and brought it to her mother.

After Wilmore asked her daughter to put the ticket back, Perry offered her something few other Idol contestants get: a second chance. The “Firework” singer invited Wilmore to see the judges again in Nashville for another audition.

“That’s where you’re gonna show us what the fire is, OK?” Perry said. “I know you didn’t name yourself that for nothing.”

Wilmore expressed determination for her second audition a month after her first.

“I’m not just somebody that’s just been through a lot of stuff,” she said. “I’m working hard. And I need it. I need to change my life. I don’t want it. I need it. I’m going to put in everything I got.”

Check out the audition, below.

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

Leave a Reply

Watch: The Killers Cover U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name”