It was a scary moment for everyone on American Idol when 17-year-old contestant Makayla Brownlee from Wellington, Kansas, suffered a seizure onstage during Sunday's episode of the ABC singing competition. As she prepared for her rendition of Kacey Musgraves' "Rainbow," Brownlee became visibly disoriented before leaving the stage and collapsing on the floor.
While EMTs rushed to Brownlee's side, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie were shocked and concerned, with the country singer even going backstage to check on her while also giving the medical professionals room to work. After it was determined that Brownlee was going to be OK, her father explained that the young singer had been diagnosed years prior with vasovagal syncope, which can be triggered by stressful experiences.
"Makayla has a condition that is pretty rare," Mark Brownlee explained. "In seventh grade, I was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope. It's a heart condition that causes me to react to stress differently than other people, and it could cause a seizure."
He added, "She can't control it. She's embarrassed, but physically, she's 100 percent all right. This opportunity is so important for her. I'd hate to see it inhibited in any way because she's such a good singer. She works so hard at it."
A few hours later, Brownlee took to the stage for a second shot at her performance, earning a standing ovation and tears from Perry. The pregnant "Firework" singer also took to Twitter to support Brownlee during the episode's airing.
That was the sweetest performance of ‘Rainbow’ #MakalylaBrownlee. So thrilled you were able to come back and sing for us and give us that perspective we need to be reminded of sometimes ♥️ #AmericanIdol @KaceyMusgraves— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 24, 2020
After the difficult day, Brownlee was given her pass to the Top 40, and reflected to the cameras about how difficult it has been to shoot her shot at being the next American Idol while controlling her stress levels.
"The stress this week has definitely been a lot harder on me than anything I've ever gone through," Brownlee explained. "There's nothing I can do to prevent a seizure. When I'm stressed out, my body just reacts differently."0comments
American Idol airs 8 p.m. ET Sundays and Mondays on ABC.
Photo credit: Getty / Ryan Pierse