Louis Knight (age 19), a singer-songwriter and part-time pizza delivery guy from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania sang an original song titled “Change” during his audition in American Idol 2020 (Season 18).
Knight said he wrote the song about going through the loss of one of his and his brother’s best friends, a guy named Russell, to suicide. He said that when his family moved from London to Philadelphia when he was just 10, the adjustment was hard. especially for his brother. But luckily, they found friends when they joined a soccer team and that’s where they met Russell, who became part of their family. Knight said that Russell was very supportive of his music and always gave him encouragement. They knew that Russell was suffering but didn’t know to what extent. When they lost him, “it stops your whole world”.
At first, Knight found it hard to write a song for Russell, but finally it just came out. He said he wrote the song as a tribute to Russell and everything he brought to this world. “It’s given me an opportunity to really shed some light on the issue and hopefully to make people not feel so alone. And all I can hope for the song, is that maybe it can speak to someone suffering and maybe save a life. And that’s all I could possibly hope for,” he said.
While Knight sang, it was apparent that the American Idol judges were very impressed, cheering at one point when he had some runs.
Luke Bryan boldly said, “I think he might be the biggest star we’ve ever had on American Idol.” He later said, “I had chill bumps telling you you’re a star.”
Katy Perry said, “That’s a bold statement, and yes, I kind of agree…I wouldn’t go so far to say you are the biggest star we’ve ever seen in this season. Got to keep you humble. Got to keep you wanting it. But I really appreciated your original song. I appreciated the sentiment of it, the feeling of it.”
Lionel Richie commented, “From a songwriter, you’re on to something big, ok? Your parralels when you write, your absolute lines leading up to your hook, fabulous. Just do more of it to control your destiny. Very good.”
After giving their comments, the judges unanimously exclaimed, “You’re going to Hollywood!” Knight got a ticket to the next round of American Idol.
In a post interview, Knight that said getting three yeses was incredible, especially since he performed his original song which was very personal to him. He thinks Russell would be absolutely thrilled. “I think he’d be looking down and he’d be smiling and he’d be really proud.”
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