American Idol contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon left the judging panel in awe — and tears — with his stunning rendition of Elton John's "We All Fall in Love Sometimes" during the Top 14 performances.
Sunday, as the season's final 14 contestants took to the stage and vie for the Top 10 spots, the 26-year-old frontrunner had Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and even Lionel Richie in their feelings as his voice took the song to a whole new level.
"Let me just get this straight, because you need to know this," Richie told him following the standing ovation that followed his final note. "You just took an Elton John song, you went past Freddie Mercury and you 'Jeremiah-ed' the whole thing."
He gushed over the music teacher's range, "I mean, there are notes that Elton can't do, then there are notes that — I can't believe it — Freddie Mercury can't do, and you went to a Z-flat somewhere up there past Pluto and Mars. … It was amazing, and your voice is amazing, and your career is going to be amazing."
Perry, openly crying at this point, admitted to being "a mess" after seeing Harmon take the stage, telling him, "I'm just so proud. I'm just so glad, because you're such a gift. You're a light to the world, your story is everything and talent just supersedes all. I'm so proud of you.”
Bryan admitted he was also fighting back tears, joking, "Katy has me in a mess over here."
Turning towards the former janitor, the country star added, "Jeremiah, the whole time I'm watching that, I'm like, 'I'm not worthy to be sitting here watching!' I just see Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon on this big billboard."
Perry added that getting to meet such talented artists and give them a platform from which to take off left him feeling emotional in general.
"We're just so blessed to have this job to meet people like you," she told Harmon.
Harmon has been open about how difficult it was to come out as a gay man in a conservative Christian environment, but in a recent interview with Out Magazine explained that things are a bit more nuanced with his parents not accepting his sexuality than the show has portrayed.
"It's interesting, the narrative that's been told so far, because the things that I've said are that it has been a challenge coming out in a conservative Christian environment, and that my parents don't accept that part about me, which is true," he said. "But I've never said that my parents have rejected me, or don't accept me as me, their son. And that in combination with my parents not being able to make it to the first couple performances and [not being] featured on the show yet, you know, it's easy for people to take that and run with it and say, 'Oh, Jeremiah's parents are these monstrous, abusive people,' which in reality, they're just trying to integrate this experience and they're processing it in their own way."
He clarified, "And it's not like they totally outcasted me, it's just ... I was living with my parents, and our differences caused me to decide to make an alternative living situation for myself, you know? And it's a lot more nuanced than it's presented, obviously. But I think at the heart of it, it's just, we have our differences, but we still love each other and are there for each other no matter what. And I think I'm personally really excited to get the full story on the show, like what we look like on the other side of the struggle, after I've quit my dad's church job, after I've moved out. Like what does our relationship look like after that, because the reality is that we've grown a lot together, you know?"
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: ABC