American Idol faced temporary schedule changes on Sunday (March 27) night due to the showing of the 2022 Academy Awards. But, fans of the reality TV competition series were still able to catch some new faces singing for a shot at Hollywood Week.
The program, which aired at 11:35PM ET on ABC, instead of its usual 8PM ET time slot, introduced viewers to 22-year-old Maurice the Musician from South Carolina. Before his audition, the hopeful told judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie that he was a street performer who lived a tough life growing up. He said before landing his audition, he bounced around the foster system as a child.
“It was, at least about 10 [times],” the singer explained of jumping from one foster facility to another before the final audition show segued into a pre-recorded clip of Maurice sharing his heartbreaking backstory.
“When I was born, I was taken away from my mom because she wasn’t fit to be a mom at the time. They didn’t really know exactly where or what my dad was up to. So growing up wasn’t exactly the easiest,” he said.
Despite his personal journey that was completely out of his control, Maurice said he ended up finding a guardian who led him on a path in the right direction.
“My last foster parent was a band director in South Carolina,” Maurice explained. “Not only did he teach me how to understand music, but he taught me multiple instruments and how to write music. I never knew what a father was until he came into my life.”
Maurice then explained that while growing up in foster care, he always heard music — particularly music of the country genre. He didn’t realize until now how much the genre impacted him. Maurice then announced he would be performing a rendition of Morgan Wallen’s No. 1 hit “Whiskey Glasses” from the No. 1 album If I Know Me.
Sporting a pair of black cowboy boots, with his guitar in hand and one foot positioned on a step stool, Maurice served up an acoustic performance of the smash hit. He made the song his own, showcasing his natural rasp and falsetto on the country lyrics.
“Some of those signature things that you’re doing, like, if you could really fine-tune them, they could actually be something to set you apart,” Bryan commented of Maurice’s audition before advising the singer to “calm down 10 percent.”
Agreeing with Bryan’s advice, Perry noted how Maurice’s days of busking as a street performer might be why he needed to pull back and bring in his ‘loud’ vocals.
“You’ve got flavor and storytelling,” Richie added of Maurice’s style before all three coaches unanimously voted him in as a ‘yes.’
American Idol returns on Sunday, April 3, on ABC.
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