‘American Idol’: Francisco Martin 'Really Proud' to Perform 'Teenage Dream' in Front of Katy Perry in Top 20 (Exclusive)

There’s been a rule of thumb throughout the 18 seasons of American Idol. If a contestant is going to sing one of the judge’s songs, they better bring their A-game. Over the years, that risk has paid off for a few, but has crippled more than those who have succeeded.

For Francisco Martin, he took the risk head-on in the Top 20 as he performed “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. Sporting her hand sanitizer costume from the comforts of her home, Perry watched in amazement during the remote performance as the once-nervous Martin added his own twists to the song. “What a dice roll to do that song,” Perry said after his performance. “Good for you because it really worked. I thought it was really beautiful at the beginning, that one note you hit was amazing, and then it was all the way uphill, I would’ve liked to have seen you bring it down a bit to bring it back to that sultry ‘Teenage Dream’ subtle part, but that’s just me being overly-critical of a song I sang tens of thousands of times. You did it real justice.”

Going next, Luke Bryan admitted he was nervous seeing Martin take on his partner’s song, but said “you made it you” and explained that he “has that magic.” Lionel Richie echoed the same thing, saying “you take the chance of life but you turned it into your song.”

Appearing as part of a Top 20 press conference with PopCulture.com and other media outlets after the group all performed remotely in a first for the singing competition, Martin was asked about what went into that decision. “I chose that song because, to be honest, the meaning is really in the title. Growing up I always wanted to pursue [music] and have it as a career,” Martin explained. “I guess you could call that my teenage dream. I wanted to use my platform to inspire others and make others do what they want to do in life and what they love, so that was kind of the meaning behind that song. It was very intimate for me. I’m really proud I sang that song.”

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Calling this a “whirlwind” experience, Martin went on to say that the judges have been super helpful in getting his confidence up. He appreciates their honesty and how “genuine” they have been through this process. He noted that “they want you to succeed in life.”

He also shared a small detail that some viewers may have missed while he was performing the Katy Perry hit song. Martin shared that behind him while he was recording, the third frame in was his golden ticket. He said his Mom displayed it for him, admitting that that moment in his life was a major turning point. “That audition really means the most to me because that’s where I was at my lowest and super insecure,” said Martin. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, so it was just super memorable for me.”