Cecil Ray Hopes His ‘Idol’ Run Teaches His Baby Daughter to Have ‘The Biggest Dreams’ [WATCH]
20-year-old native Texan Cecil Ray may have walked onto the American Idol stage with some jitters during the show's first Hollywood Week episode on Sunday night (March 21), but the judges were impressed by the sweet story behind his performance.
Ray was among the country contestants during this week's Genre Challenge, and the young performer looked outside of the genre's mainstream for his performance, selecting Tyler Childers' fan-favorite "Shake the Frost." The singer was visibly nervous as his accompanying acoustic guitar began, and he missed his cue on the first verse.
"Wait! Hold on! What happened?" judge Katy Perry interrupted, before asking him to begin again so that he could have "a fair chance."
With the judges' encouragement, Ray's confidence grew over the course of his performance, and he even received a standing ovation from Perry and a thumbs up from Luke Bryan as he walked off stage. While he may have gotten a shaky start, Ray has a powerful reason for wanting to try his hand at Idol: His two-month-old daughter, Amelia Jade.
"She's my lifeline, man. I plan to give her the life I never had," Ray explained before his performance. "I wanna prove to my daughter that just because you grow up in a small town doesn't mean you can't have the biggest dreams. Anything's achievable."
Ray was one of several Idol contestants to take the stage with country performances on Sunday night. After his round of country performances, the judges announced that he'll be moving on to the next round. They did, however, eliminate Cameron McGhar: An Alabama native who squeaked through her audition earlier this month with help from her performance of Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man)."
American Idol airs on Sunday and Monday nights on ABC at 8PM ET. After Sunday's Genre Challenge episode, the show will proceed on Monday (March 22) with its Duets Challenge.
Here's What Laine Hardy Has Been Up to Since Winning American Idol:
Where Are They Now? Country's Biggest American Idol Stars: