Trans ‘American Idol’ contestant blows judges away & gets standing ovation from Katy Perry

Amari performs on American Idol
Amari performs on American Idol Photo: Screenshot

Amari, a 28-year-old waitress from Indiana, stunned the American Idol judges with an emotional rendition of Sara Bareilles’ ballad “She Used To Be Mine.” The woman’s backstory also touched the audience.

After winning the judges over before she sang a note, she got a second chance to impress the trio. The singer tried out with a stripped-down version of Britney Spears’ hit “Toxic,” but judge Katy Perry asked Amari to show more of her personality in another song.

Referencing an earlier comment by the contestant, Perry asked Amari to choose a song that reflected her journey to find her “true self.” That’s when Amari opened up to Perry and fellow judges Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryan about being transgender and her journey through the process.

She lost several people from her life when she started to transition, she said, but had accepted the reality and was moving on.

“It’s normal to lose a lot of people,” Amari told the judges. “I’m not mad at them. I understand. I don’t expect people to understand everything. I just want to love everybody.”

When she launched into the deeply emotional song from Bareilles’ musical “Waitress,” the room went silent as Perry fought to hold back tears. When she finished, Perry launched to her feet for a standing ovation.

While Bryan ultimately gave Amari a no, pointing out that she had been “swallowed up a bit by the big high notes,” Perry and Ritchie both gave enthusiastic yeses.

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