Luke Bryan Raves Over ‘Idol’ Hopeful’s ‘Magic Country Stuff’ During Little Big Town Audition Song [WATCH]
Luke Bryan and fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie cheered on an extra-nervous American Idol hopeful during Sunday night's (Feb. 28) episode. Christian McGuckian, a 21-year-old maid hailing from South Carolina, couldn't hide her stage nerves from the second she walked into the audition room.
Before she started singing, Bryan even coached her through some quick breathing exercises, and Perry assured her, "We're all on your team." Despite her nerves, McGuckian launched into a rendition of Little Big Town's chart-topping 2015 hit "Girl Crush."
While her performance wasn't perfect, the young singer's raw talent couldn't be denied, and it certainly wasn't lost on the three judges.
"You have magic country stuff going on in your voice," Bryan told McGuckian after she finished singing, "But you're letting everything around you get in its way. Understand? I would give anything in the world to get you to sing on time a little better. That is your biggest hurdle currently."
"Now, a lot of people come in here and go, 'Oh, I'll work really hard,' and I go, 'Sweetheart, you don't got the talent,'" pointed out Perry. "If you keep digging, you're gonna dig all the way to God knows where."
However, McGuckian had a special natural talent that just needed to be refined. "You just need to dig in the right direction," Perry continued.
Then, there was the other issue of her stage fright. The judges even asked the young singer to perform a portion of "Girl Crush" again as they joined her on the stage, walking around and showing her that there was nothing to be scared of. "You know, it feels good to be out here in Hollywood-land, and it's nothing to freak out about," Richie said calmly.
Despite the hitches in her performance, McGuckian will get another change to refine her singing style and become more at ease with an audience: Each of the three judges returned a "yes," meaning she'll move on to the next round.
"We have these country girl singers come in here and they try to act country and they try to sing country, and you can tell they ain't country," Bryan said.
"You country!" Perry continued.
"Experience this, okay? Take this in. And there's no such thing as failure," Richie added. "When you win, you win. When you lose, you learn. And then, it'll make you a better person on the other side, I guarantee you."
American Idol airs on Sunday nights at 8PM ET on ABC. Sunday night's episode showed this season's third set of auditions, filmed in California in late 2020.
See American Idol Contestants Then + Now:
Phil Stacey Now: