American Idol was not all glitz and glamour during its first night of Hollywood Week as emotions got the best of not just the contestants, but the judges as well — especially Katy Perry, who broke down over one aspiring singer’s performance.
During Sunday night’s episode of Idol, things came to a head after nationwide auditions saw more than 100 hopefuls put through the ringer in rigorous solo and group performances, that traditionally gets cut in half after hardcore evaluations from the panel.
But while many several of the contestants were a ball of nerves and battling immune busts, 27-year-old Dimitrius Graham had the roughest situation of them all as the Baltimore native revealed to judges and peers that his sick mother, Lorraine, was having surgery the next day.
“Her spirits were down and I’m in LA, so I can't be there for her,” Graham said. “That’s my mom, that’s my best friend, that’s my rock. That’s my ‘American Idol.’”
Missing his mother and hoping to raise her spirits with Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings,” Graham asked judges, Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie if he could FaceTime with her before handing off his phone to the judges.
“Hi, mama,” Perry said enthusiastically while holding up the phone as Richie chimed in with greetings. “Lorraine, we believe with you for tomorrow that you’ll be safe and protected, and the angels are around you. And speaking of an angel, your son is about to sing for us and we want you to be a part of this moment.”
As Graham sang the iconic song from the 1988 movie Beaches, Perry buried her face in the palm of her head and began to cry while turning to Bryan, sobbing throughout the performance. The country singer, noticing Perry’s reaction, offers her a tissue.
After wiping her tears with the tissue, Perry shouts, “Woo! What’d you think about that?” while looking at Lorraine via FaceTime.0comments
“Your boy did it, sweetheart,” Richie added. “Your boy did it.”
Will Graham make it through the next rounds? Find out on American Idol, airing Sundays and Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.