Dillon James (age 26), a construction worker from Bakersfield, California sang a heartfelt rendition of “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan during the Auditions round of American Idol 2020 (Season 18).
“Make You Feel My Love” is a song written by Bob Dylan for his 1997 album Time Out of Mind. It was first released commercially by Billy Joel, under the title “To Make You Feel My Love”, before Dylan’s version appeared later that same year. It has since been covered by numerous performers including Adele, Garth Brooks, Shane Filan, Bryan Ferry, Kelly Clarkson, Ane Brun and Nick Knowles. Dylan eventually released the song as a single. Joel’s version peaked at number 50 on the US Billboard Hot 100, Brooks version topped Billboard’s US Hot Country Songs, while Adele’s cover weaved in out of the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart.
Before Dillon performed, his life story was presented. Dillon said he met his “trials and tribulations through drugs and alcohol” and lost everything. But through the support and unconditional love of his family, he has remained sober for the past 2 years.
American Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan were touched by Dillon’s performance, which Luke described as “done with feeling and honesty”. Lionel said Dillon made it “his” song while Katy Perry said Dillon exuded mystery and had a presence like a country Post Malone.
The judges unanimously voted “Yes” to Dillon James and happily handed him a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Luke Bryan said “It was really just done with feeling and honesty. You know what, and your voice is a little not what I expect.”
Katy Perry agreed and said it was unusual.
Luke continued, “It’s almost like it got this Chris Isaak thing going on. I’m IN, all the way.”
Lionel Richie commented, “Well, I might throw in Mike Valentino in the pot too…You know you gave us this story of surrender. Whatever you doin’ was the wrong direction and you stopped and turned around. For you to interpret the song like that and make us feel like that’s your song, is everything. You’re a preacher for sure, I’ll go to the church with that…”
Katy Perry said, “You are mysterious, I’m intrigued. I mean you have this kind of like interesting presence that’s a bit like country Post Malone. But what happens if you come to the city of lost angels. What are you gonna do to give yourself some help so that you don’t spiral…”
Dillon said it would be impossible to go back to his erring ways, even if Katy said “the devil works harder”. He said he has a loving family that keeps him grounded, and “I have meditation to help me out when I think I’m getting a little blurry.”
Katy concluded that she loves a “spiritual cowboy.”
In a post-audition interview, Dillon said, “The last few years for me have been pretty rough. So it feels very good to have this Golden Ticket. It means everything to me. It means maybe the start of something more than what I am right now.”
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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