‘American Idol’ Hopeful Lauren Mascitti Treats Judges to Original Tune — With Help From Her Guitar Heavyweight Fiance
The Nashville country community was well-represented on Sunday night during the second round of televised auditions for American Idol's Season 18 run. One of the episode's highlights was a performance from contestant Lauren Mascitti, who impressed with her emotional delivery and story-telling power.
Before the three judges -- Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie -- even got to hear her song, however, they had to address the elephant in the room: Mascitti's guitar player and fiance, who stepped onstage alongside her, is renowned Nashville guitarist, singer and songwriter Shawn Camp. In fact, he and Bryan were already acquainted!
"I know your partner there," Bryan told Mascitti as she and Camp took the stage. "How ya doin', Shawn?"
"Is he a big deal?" Perry asked. Neither she nor Richie seemed to have encountered Camp before, but Bryan sure had.
"He's a bada--," he responded with a grin.
While Camp had a couple of moderate hits in the '90s as a recording artist, he's best known as a songwriter who has co-written hits for the likes of Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn and Josh Turner. He's also a producer: In 2014, Camp won a Grammy Award for his co-production of Guy Clark's album, My Favorite Picture of You.
Mascitti didn't hesitate to brag about her fiancé's many accomplishments to the Idol judges, but soon enough, Perry turned the attention back to her performance and the story that led her to become a musician.
"I grew up singing gospel in church, and I was raised and adopted by my grandparents. Nana and Papa were really encouraging of my desire to do music," the Lewisville, Ohio native recalled.
After she finished nursing school in Ohio, Mascitti -- along with her Nana and Papa -- moved to Nashville, and she began to pursue her musical dreams as well as continuing to work her day job. In between nursing shifts, she began to immerse herself in the Nashville songwriting community, where she quickly began to work with some of the genre's legends. Per the Grand Ole Opry's website, Mascitti has performed or written with artists such as Pam Tillis, Gary Nicholson, Mo Pitney, Matraca Berg and many more.
Mascitti performed a soulful original ballad called "If I Can Lose You," which she wrote with her friend Renee Martin (herself an accomplished musician who has sung backup for Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Patty Loveless.)
"I'm a sucker for a good songwriter. I think what I love the most is you have this silky quality of a story-teller, and that's the part I really fell in love with," Richie told the singer.
Bryan compared Mascitti's performance to 2019 Idol contestant Laci Kaye Booth, especially because of her voice's "smoky" quality. "She did so well because it was so...her thing," Bryan pointed out. "Are you gonna go stand by some Kelly Clarkson belter? No. But are you gonna be able to walk out there and really hold a room with your style? Potentially, yes."
"Best story-teller wins," Perry interjected.
The three judges unanimously voted to bring Mascitti along to the next round -- with an honorary "yes" vote from Camp -- and the singer ran up to claim her "golden ticket." American Idol episodes will continue to air on Sunday nights at 8PM ET on ABC.
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