‘American Idol': Aaron Westberry’s Interpretation of Sam Hunt Hit Blows Judges Away [Watch]
Aaron Westberry may be as laid-back as they come. But his mellow attitude didn’t keep him from scoring a Golden Ticket during the second round of Season 20’s American Idol auditions on Sunday (March 6) night.
The 20-year-old produce clerk from Greenville, S. C., melted hearts all over the country with his delicate approach to Sam Hunt’s apologetic "2016."
Usually sung on acoustic guitar, Westberry made the song his own, showcasing his skills on a grand piano. Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie were surprised by Westberry’s talent — he kept it simple as he poured emotion into every lyric, drawing in the judges with his melodic vocal tone throughout the performance.
Afterward, however, Westberry seemed a bit expressionless, abandoning his piano and abruptly making his way to the center of the room with both hands in his pockets.
Curious about the hopeful’s passionless energy and a lack of enthusiasm for being on “Idol, Richie raised the question, “Do you like working in the produce department? I mean, do you just have a passion for that produce? Do you really want to be on American Idol?”
“Yes!” Westberry said with a slow-speaking drawl.
“No, no, no. I’m going to ask you that again,” Richie added.
“My bad, Yes!” Westberry interrupted Richie, this time raising his voice.
“Understand that passion is the key here. You got it?” Richie, then, advised.
“You’re really good,” Perry confessed, after comparing Westberry’s appearance to a young Owen Wilson. “Your voice makes us melt. It doesn't have this crazy range. It doesn’t need this crazy range. It’s wild.”
“You have a heartbreak tone, man,” Bryan declared of Westberry’s voice, going as far as comparing him to James Taylor. “You can sing some stuff, and it pulls us in. We’re just like, ‘Oh my God, this kid is breaking our hearts. And, you’re doing that with that tone you just gave us.”
Following all three of the judges' comments, Westberry received the green light to go to Hollywood and a new nickname. “You’re like walking melatonin,” Bryan quipped as Westberry grabbed his Golden Ticket.
Fans can keep up with Westberry’s journey on American Idol, Sundays at 8PM ET on ABC.
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