IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Single mom turned away on ‘American Idol’ returns for 2nd audition. Is she going to Hollywood?

The 22-year-old impressed the judges with her second performance.
/ Source: TODAY

Sometimes, all you need is a second chance, and "American Idol" contestant Fire Wilmore certainly took full advantage of hers in the latest episode of the singing competition.

The 22-year-old first appeared in the March 19 episode and auditioned for the judges with her nearly 4-year-old daughter, Maja, in tow. Despite her ambition, Wilmore's performance wasn't enough to earn her a ticket to Hollywood. Out of the three judges, only Katy Perry voted to send her on to the next round.

Wilmore, who explained that she works as a stripper to support her daughter, said she wants to offer her a better life than the one she had as a child. The budding singer inspired Perry, who offered her the chance to return in a few weeks for a second audition.

After a month of practicing "all day, every day," Wilmore was ready to show the judges that she didn't take their kindness for granted.

"I need to prove that I deserve the second chance," she explained in a confessional interview. "I'm working, I'm working, I'm working for my daughter. I want to make her proud." 

The Oklahoma native walked into the audition room with plenty of confidence, and the judges instantly noticed her swagger.

"Aha! All right, now we know," judge Lionel Richie said.

Perry echoed his sentiments. "I mean, I don't even recognize you. ... You look lighter and brighter," she said.

Wilmore explained that auditioning with her daughter in the room certainly created a lot more pressure the first time around.

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

Perry, who has a toddler daughter named Daisy, replied, "Honey, I know. It's hard."

Wilmore belted out Adele's song "Love in the Dark," and Perry cheered her on along the way.

"C'mon, Fire," she said. "Fight for it."

In a confessional interview, Wilmore said she opted for a more emotional song this time around. "The lyrics bring back all the emotions of what I felt in that first audition."

After the audition, Richie reacted to the performance.

"You took a hard lick on your first time around. You do have a great tone in there, but I'm really not sure if it's going to take a next level," he said.

"Idol" judge Luke Bryan applauded Wilmore for her hard work and also wondered if she has what it takes to become a star.

"You have come back in here with a completely different mindset. Are you the best singer we've seen? Not at all. But there's just stuff about you that I'd really like to push you on. You've got a lot left to discover with all that," he said.

Perry was impressed with Wilmore's perseverance.

"Something about you has shifted. I think you've lived a lot of your life in protection mode, and so being able to open back up again, that's the gift," she said.

When it came time for a vote, Richie said, "I am telling you you've got promise, and if nothing else, to prove to you that you've got promise."

Bryan told the 22-year-old that he was "excited to see what kind of a butterfly" she turns into.

Perry went last and said, "I'm excited to see you bloom into your fullest potential."

With three "yes" votes, Wilmore burst into tears and said, "Thank you so much. Sorry I'm ugly crying right now."