‘American Idol': Morgan Gruber Shines as ‘Diamond in the Rough’ After Elle King Cover [Watch]
Morgan Gruber won’t have to look at cornfields and cows much longer, because she is heading to Hollywood. On Monday night (March 21), the teenage singer from Pennsylvania blew judges away on Season 20’s American Idol and scored herself a coveted Golden Ticket.
Sporting a flat-brimmed hat and blue jeans, Gruber, 17, brought her A-game, busting out a mesmerizing version of “Can’t Be Loved” by Elle King. Mere seconds into her performance, she quickly earned praise from judge Lionel Richie.
“Mmmm, that was good. I like it ... watch out! Watch out!” Richie commented of Gruber's silky high-pitched vocals and technical prowess, while she continued to throw all of her emotion into the song lyrics while backed by acoustic guitar.
After the audition, all three judges stood up and gave Gruber a well-deserved standing ovation.
“Alright, Gruber. That was amazing. I don’t have many critiques for you,” judge Katy Perry admitted while scratching her head. The "Dark Horse" singer notably called the hopeful a “diamond in the rough.”
“You came and not only gave us fabulous delivery, but it's your style. So, if I heard your voice, singled [out] among everyone else I know, Morgan.” Richie added, snapping his finger. “That’s what you want in this business."
Luke Bryan then remarked, “I looked at Katy. She says Top 20. My sheet says Top 20.”
When asked why she chose to audition for American Idol, Gruber told the judging panel that she did it for her grandmother, who died a few years ago from ovarian cancer. She also said that her late grandma used to try and encourage her to sing. Now that she is finally taking that step of singing in public and advancing to Hollywood Week, she is confident that she’s not going on that journey alone.
"My grandma definitely is my guardian angel,” Gruber said. “I’m doing this for her because I know this is huge. I know that she’s looking down on me."
See American Idol Contestants Then and Now