March 27, 2018 09:25 AM

She “kissed a girl,” and the American Idol judges liked it.

Contestant Caitlin Lucia took a major risk while auditioning for the rebooted competition show, opting to sing a cover of judge Katy Perry‘s hit single “I Kissed a Girl.”

After telling the 33-year-old pop star that she was one of her biggest musical influences and that they both started out performing at Los Angeles’ Hotel Café, Lucia broke into an acoustic rendition of the 2008 track on her guitar.

Although Perry was a bit skeptical to begin with, it was soon apparent that she was thoroughly impressed by the Idol hopeful.

“Well, usually I say to a contestant that’s singing my song, ‘At least sing it as good as or better [than me],’ and I think she might have sang it better,” Perry said.

Relieved, Lucia replied, “I literally thought you were going to eat me alive.”

Both Perry and fellow judge Lionel Richie agreed that they loved the spin she put on the tune and believed that she had more talent to unveil.

“I think you’ve got a bigger motor than you’re showing us,” Perry told her.

Richie added, “We can hear it. You’re just cruising along, touching the top, and there’s more after that top. I know it is.”

Luke Bryan was also stunned, complimenting the “complete control” Lucia had over her voice.

Katy Perry
Alfonso Bresciani/ABC/Getty

The “Swish, Swish” singer even made her an amazing offer: “Want to come sing it at my show? Come on.”

“Hell yeah!” Lucia responded.

When it came time to vote if Lucia should move on to the Hollywood rounds, it wasn’t just a “yes” — it was an “absolute yes” from all three judges.

Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie
Eric Liebowitz/Getty

While they were in agreement on this contestant, things may get heated between the judges as the competition narrows down.

“We start out with 200 some odd people, let’s be honest. We took off the top layer and we also had our get-acquainted moment which is like, ‘That’s nice. Very good, don’t do that again,'” Richie, 68, told PEOPLE. “So now we’re in the second layer. As we get closer to the real deal I can almost feel that we’re going to be able to voice our opinions – I’m bringing my mace!”

“You’re going to mace us?” Bryan, 41, replied. “Don’t let him go through your pocketbook, Nicole [Richie], and get your pepper spray.”

“We’ll each have different people that we’re rooting for I’m sure,” Perry added. “But the great thing is that America is really the one that chooses so that’s exciting.”

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