Mariah Faith Moves ‘Idol’ Judges with Her “Interesting Voice,” Story of Late Stepdad

Mariah Faith moved judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan with her audition on season 21 of American Idol.

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The 21-year-old shared how she moved from Baltimore, Maryland, to Conway, South Carolina, when she was eight. The move was the suggestion of her stepfather, Brian, as a way to connect her with people who could help foster her gift for singing.

“Somehow, he just knew I deserved to be singing,” Faith said, citing her stepdad as a “very amazing man, my No. 1 supporter and my best friend.” In 2019 during Faith’s senior year of high school, tragedy struck when Brian was on his way to pick up a gift for her younger sister when he unexpectedly had a heart attack and died. “That was my best friend in the whole world…how do you continue going on without that,” Faith pondered.

Faith started her audition singing “Whenever You Come Around” by Vince Gill, but was stopped halfway through by Perry, who shared that she thought Faith was “playing it a little safe.”

“I just feel like there is a lion that needs to be let loose in there,” Perry observed, suggesting that she instead sing Bonnie Raitt’s classic, “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

Faith leaned into the agony of the lyrics with her plaintive vocals before letting her soulful tones fly on the final notes of the chorus, I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power / But you won’t, no you won’t / ‘Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t.

“I had chills the whole time of that performance,” professed Bryan. “You are on just the edge of greatness. You just got it all, in my opinion.”

“What we just heard is just the tip of the iceberg, but your potential could take you seriously all the way,” Richie praised.

“There’s so many subtleties in your voice, I’m hanging on to every syllable,” noted Perry, while also calling Faith a “world class” talent. “You are a star…you’ve got it. One of the most interesting voices this season.”

Faith walked out of the audition room with a golden ticket in hand, earning three yes’ from the judges, sending her to the Hollywood Round. “I definitely feel like my dad is in the room with me,” she said in a voice-over. “Definitely gave me the boost I needed.”

Season 21 of American Idol continues on Sunday night, airing at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless

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