Courtney Timmons (age 22), a security guard from Harris Neck, Georgia sang an amazing version of “Rise Up” by Andra Day during the Auditions round of American Idol 2020 (Season 18)
“Rise Up” is a track from Andra Day’s debut studio album released in August 2015. The song has been covered in a lot of talent shows and in several TV series. The album was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
Courtney missed the deadline for the auditions and waited all day outside for a miracle to happen. And it did, when American Idol Ryan Seacrest noticed her sitting sadly in a corner and then took her directly from the street to the audition room to perform for American Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. It’s a first in American Idol history. Courtney didn’t even have an American Idol number on a sticker usually given to contestants.
The American Idol judges were stunned by Courtney’s beautiful voice they thought they were being punked. They were amazed with the way she sang and with her determination to be an American Idol. Katy, Lionel, and Luke unanimously agreed to send Courtney to Hollywood and they gave her a Golden Ticket.
Katy Perry said that before the show started she already saw Courtney sitting outside on the sidewalk and thought she was just a fan of the show. She said, “You can sing.”
Lionel Richie corrected her and said, “No,no,no,no. You can SANG. There’s a difference between singin’ and sangin’. You are a bird, girl.”
Courtney said she wanted to be a singer more than anything. And when she learned it wasn’t an open call anymore, she was a “little discouraged”. But she was determined to sit all day. When Katy recalled that Courtney even greeted her outside, Courtney said at least seeing them was enough.
Katy continued, “Hold on. At least you saw us? You’re one of the best singers we’ve seen today. You’re probably THE best singer we’ve seen today…This is really magical. This is a magical moment. We’re gonna send you to Hollywood.”
Ryan Seacrest, who was watching the whole thing, started crying. He said he felt like a parent, that’s why he’s crying. In a few seconds, Katy Perry also started crying.
Courtney squealed when she got her Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Katy told her “That is what you call determination…Courtney, you know what, you are what American Idol is. You’re the new definition.”
It’s only when she got outside the room that Courtney got her official American Idol number.
She said in the interview, “Something like this, it’s a miracle. Doesn’t happen just for anybody. And it means everything to me.” She placed a call to her dad who was shocked to learn the good news.
American Idol Season 18 premiered at 8PM, February 16, 2020 on ABC television and will air Sundays at 8/7c. Ryan Seacrest continues his role as the show’s host and Bobby Bones returns as the in-house mentor. Despite budget cuts, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie come back as judges for their third season of the series.
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