Ben Harper Recalls Hearing 'American Idol' 's Alejandro Aranda Play Guitar Years Before Their Duet

Ben Harper recalls hearing Alejandro Aranda play guitar in his family's music shop years before their all-star duet on Monday's episode of American Idol

Full circle moments are the best moments: just ask American Idol fan favorite Alejandro Aranda.

During Monday night’s All-Star duet episode of Idol, musician Ben Harper revealed that he had crossed paths with Aranda in the past.

“I had heard him in my family’s shop,” Harper, 49, told in-house mentor Bobby Bones after performing his song “There Will Be a Light” with Aranda. “I’ve heard so much music in that shop over my whole lifetime. His playing is so singular that I poked my head out of the shop and heard him playing and was like, ‘Yeah he’s got it.’ I remember his playing.”


During rehearsals with Harper, Aranda opened up about his Idol journey thus far.

“It’s been honestly wild,” he said. “I’m used to playing for other bands, being in the background. I’m not used to being in the front and being the person that’s receiving the energy.”

Growing up one town away from Harper in California, Aranda used to frequent Harper’s family’s music shop, the Folk Music Center, and play the guitars.

“I remember just going in and just feeling good, a good vibe,” he said.

“I’m an old f—, so to come here and see you in your youthful prime, you lift me up,” Harper told the young musician.

Alejandro Aranda.

After their moving performance, the judges were quick to praise Aranda.

“Welcome to the Alejandro show,” said Luke Bryan, 42. “Man, you’re so tasteful with your approach. We love the character that you bring — this quiet, gentle person that lets the music do all the talking for him.”

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“I think you embody the word authenticity,” Katy Perry, 34, added. “If you, like, win American Idol and become the biggest singer-songwriter in the world, you’re always just going to be that homie. Nothing is going to change you. I just love how real and authentic and vulnerable and sensitive, like you’re my ‘Emo’ homie.”

While Aranda made it to the Top 14, Logan Johnson, Raquel Trinidad and Ryan Hammond said their goodbyes in an emotional elimination.

American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EST, with five additional Monday night episodes airing now.

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