“American Idol” contestant Sam Finelli brought the judges to tears with his emotional audition on Sunday.
Finelli, 28, delivered a beautiful performance of “Rainbow,” a Kacey Musgraves song from the 2018 album “Golden Hour.”
The ballad about overcoming hard times has a personal meaning for Finelli, who shared that he has autism.
“I don’t connect with people very well. It’s just a small part of who I am, it’s not all of who I am,” he said. “So, it was lonely growing up but music was my best friend.”
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Finelli’s heartfelt performance moved the judges to tears, and they gave him a standing ovation.
“You told us about your struggle, and now you walk out of here after no other (than) 'American Idol,' and you have three judges giving you a standing ovation,” Lionel Ritchie said. “I want you to know right now, we are so proud of you.”
“Sam, you were born enough,” Ritchie added. “And your — what we consider your handicap is your gift, you understand me? You are enough. Katy, you want to just kind of take charge here, because I’m about to break down and start crying.”
Katy Perry then told Finelli that he “picked the perfect song, because there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head.”
“All you have to do is let go of all that fear and negativity and always sing from your heart … and that’s exactly what you did just then,” she said.
Luke Bryan chimed in that what had just happened “felt like an experience” and thanked Finelli for being there.
Then, the judges invited Finelli’s mother into the room so she could also hear them deliver the good news: Finelli got three "yes" votes and is headed to Hollywood.
“You ready to be the next Kelly Clarkson?” Perry asked him, to which Finelli replied, “I’m going to sure as hell try!”