Watch the ‘American Idol’ contestant who brought Lionel Richie to tears

Elijah McCormick’s audition of “Bless the Broken Road” reminded the judges of the late Willie Spence.

It was an audition that brought out the handkerchiefs on the third night of american idol tryouts at 21 Elijah McCormickan ophthalmic technician from Raeford, North Carolina, brought Lionel Richie to tears following his powerful performance of “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts.

After the three judges hugged Elijah, Luke said, “The last person I saw approaching singing like you was Willie Spence.”

The other connection between Willie and Elijah is that they both suffered horrible traffic accidents. Willie succumbed to his accident; Elijah, who coded nine times, miraculously survived his.

Related: american idol Finalist Willie Spence has died

Lionel explained his tears, saying, “That’s what got me. You hit one of those notes, and I thought of Willie and from there, I couldn’t recover. I was trying to look dignified and then you beat me up again. Let me just tell you this, God brought you back nine times to do something amazing. I’m so glad you’re here with us. It was just one of those moments in my life that I will never forget.

Katy then said, “Elijah, do you understand this is the beginning of your story. I can’t believe you came to us. How the hell did you come to us?

Elijah explained that his mother Techaunahad signed him up for an audition before the accident. “I had my ID number and everything,” he added.

Katy told him, “You are right here fulfilling your destiny. It was always meant to be.

The judges then asked him to bring his mother, and Lionel told her: “Your son, when he opens his mouth, he is divine. God brought him back for a purpose in life, and it starts right here. I know you’ve been through absolute torture. Well, God bless you and your family and that golden child right there.”

Elijah, Teshauna, Lionel

ABC/Eric McCandless

And then, in the strangest of coincidences, Elijah interrupted to say, “My ID was burned in the car fire, so on the hospital floor they called me Golden Child. My hair was golden back then, that’s why they called me Golden Child.

Related: Watch american idol Judges give second platinum ticket to 15-year-old who Lionel Richie says ‘sings like Streisand’

Elijah, who has been singing since he was 6, really fell in love with music in high school. And then, on graduation day, June 8, 2019, it was unclear if he would sing again.

“The last thing I remember is dropping my friend off at her house and I was only about a mile from home,” he recalled. “I got stuck several times during the airlift, then I got stuck several times on the operating table. A total of nine times. I stayed in the hospital for about 79 days, had about 10 surgeries — open heart surgery, dialysis. I’m so grateful to be here. Thank you for the guardian angels who surrounded me.

Needless to say, the road has been difficult for the Idol optimistic.

“I never thought I would experience something like this,” he said. “I’m not supposed to be here. I have to fulfill my purpose. I’m gonna go out there and give it my all, leave it all on the floor. I will leave without regret. »

And he didn’t because when the judges voted, Elijah was in Hollywood.

“The golden child deserves the golden ticket,” Katy said.

american idol airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Following,Show american idol Judges award first platinum ticket to ‘most gifted singer to date’


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