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‘American Idol’ judges cry as single mom Fire Wilmore completes duet after partner drops out

Her performance of "Whataya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert brought both Katy Perry and Lionel Richie to tears.
/ Source: TODAY

"American Idol" contestant Fire Wilmore's performance on the April 3 episode after her duet partner, Kaya Stewart, withdrew from the competition seconds before their duet left judge Katy Perry in tears.

Stewart, the daughter of Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, got sick during Hollywood Week and told the judges onstage she couldn't perform, meaning she would be withdrawing from the competition.

After Stewart walked off the stage in tears, Perry asked Wilmore how she felt about performing on her own.

"It's been really stressful. It was a lot of stress on me to learn the different arrangement, and then just come out here," Wilmore trailed off through tears.

Perry called out to the crowd, asking who would perform with Wilmore, telling her: "You're not going to be abandoned anymore."

Jayna Elise jumped to the stage, and their emotional performance of "Whataya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert brought Lionel Richie to tears as Perry cried.

"You can't control a lot," Perry said after the rendition. "But you can control yourself. And you can control your future. Thank you for standing up here and continuing to try."

"And in this moment, we get to control a little bit of your future," Perry continued. "You're going forward, Fire."

The audience roared with applause, sending Wilmore into tears again as she exited the stage.

Wilmore, a 23-year-old single mother, first auditioned for the show during the March 19 episode. With her 4-year-old daughter by her side, she performed "Talking to the Moon" by Bruno Mars.

While all the judges noted promise in her voice, only Perry voted to send her to Hollywood. After Wilmore's daughter, Maja, found a golden ticket on a shelf and handed it to her mother, Perry opted to invite Wilmore back for a second-chance audition in Nashville.

The Oklahoma native walked into her next audition a month later and explained that auditioning with her daughter in the room the first time added a lot of extra pressure.

"Honestly, I wasn’t focused. It was a bit of a handful having my daughter with me," she said.

Perry, who is also a mom to a toddler, replied, "Honey, I know. It’s hard."

Wilmore's performance of Adele's "Love in the Dark" wowed Perry, Richie and Luke Bryan, who all gave a resounding yes to sending her to Hollywood.

Wilmore burst into tears and said, "Thank you so much. Sorry I’m ugly crying right now."