Watch Katy Perry's Eye-Popping Reaction to an 'Idol' Contestant's Take on Lionel Richie's 'Hello'

"I wanna be the first in your long career to rush the artist," Richie told contestant Olivia Soli after her performance

American Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan didn't see that one coming!

In a clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE from Sunday's show, contestant Olivia Soli left the judges stunned after her audition to Richie's "Hello."

After Soli — a 20-year-old Los Angeles native — introduced herself, she told the judges she would be singing the classic song for her audition.

Perry, 38, responds, "Big shoes Olivia."

Eric McCandless/ABC

Soli then takes the piano and proceeds to belt out her powerful vocals as she adds her own twist to the hit song. Immediately, Perry widens her eyes and stares at the camera in shock as Richie, 73, claps.

"I wanna be the first in your long career to rush the artist," Richie jokes as he gives the contestant a big hug.

"I was praying," he says. "When people say they're gonna sing your song — a Katy song, a Luke song, please don't sing it like us. Own it. Take it and turn it into your song. You did it to perfection. I know who you are now as an artist. And yes it's my song, yes I wrote it, yes I sang it but it's your song."

The full episode airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Last month, the judges were moved to tears by Trey Louis — a survivor of the 2018 Santa Fe High School mass shooting — during his audition where he performed "Stone."

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. Raymond Liu via Getty Images

When asked by Bryan, 46, why he went out for the show, Louis first explained that he felt as though the ABC series "is kind of where people that I enjoy make it" in the music industry. Then, he revealed additional aspirations.

"As I said before, I'm from Santa Fe, Texas. In May 2018 a gunman walked into my school. I was in art room one, and he shot up art room two before he made his way to art room one," he said. "Lost a lot of friends. Eight students were killed. Two teachers were killed. And uh, it's just really been negative, man. Santa Fe's had a bad rap here since 2018."

The tragic reveal immediately moved Perry, Bryan and Richie, and Perry buried her head in her hands as she began to cry.

"Our country has f---ing failed us," she said, to which Louis responded, "Facts."

American Idol airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Related Articles