The remaining 12 American Idol contestants took the stage Sunday night to belt out Oscar-nominated songs as they vie for a place in the top nine. The night, however, may not have been an award-winning moment for contestant Hunter Metts, who succumbed to an all-too-familiar Idol gaffe when he forgot the lyrics to his song, resulting in him breaking down into tears.
For his performance, the 22-year-old software developer from Franklin, Tennessee opted for a cover of "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once, which won Best Original Song at the 2008 Academy Awards. After breezing through the first several verses, Metts hit a snag when he forgot a couple of words at the end of the song. Considered "top 10" material by the judges, the mishap left Metts in tears, the contestant so shook up by the flub that at one point he even turned away from the camera and shook his head, though the live audience still gave him a standing ovation. Audience members were not the only ones to show Metts some love, though, as the judges were also quick to not only applaud Metts' performance but also offer him some words of encouragement.
After Metts said he was "so sorry" for the mistake, Katy Perry was quick to downplay it, declaring the performance "the best performance" Metts has "ever given." Perry went on to offer words of comfort, telling the performer that "perfection is an illusion. It doesn't matter," and assuring him, "that shows that you are a human and vulnerable. Everybody relates to that. It's amazing, it's emotion. That's what music is!" She went on to acknowledge "this is a lot of pressure," again assuring Metts that "it's not about perfection. It's about resonating with people, and you just did… you connected with us. You kept your eyes open, your heart open, you were so connected you forgot where you were and that is perfect."
Both Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie sang similar praise for the contestant, with Bryan telling him, "I don't even know what happened at the end, but I didn't care. You did no wrong. You could do no wrong in that moment." Richie, meanwhile, told Metts, admitted that Metts is far from the first performer to forget lyrics, recalling how fans have told him, "Oh my God, Lionel. I was there the night you forgot the lyrics to 'Hello,'" but have still "loved" the performance.
Currently, there are 12 contestants remaining on Idol. Along with Metts, they include Grace Kinstler, Caleb Kennedy, Chayce Beckham, Alyssa Wray, Deshawn Goncalves, Casey Bishop, Cassandra Coleman, Willie Spencer, Madison Watkins, Brennan "Beane" Hepler, and Ava August. American Idol airs on Sunday and Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The episodes can also be watched for free on FuboTV or on Hulu With Live TV with a free trial.