Contestant Tyler Mitchell impressed judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie with his rendition of Vince Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around"

By Maria Pasquini
March 04, 2019 01:00 PM
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Somebody just earned themselves a ticket to Hollywood!

During Sunday’s premiere of American Idol, contestant Tyler Mitchell blew the judges away with his soulful rendition of Vince Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around” — but when the 26-year-old singer first stepped into the room, all of the judges were impressed by something completely different: how tall he was.

“That’s a man right here,” said judge Luke Bryan.

“Will you come here for one second? I just want to touch your hand and see how small my hand is compared to your hand,” Katy Perry added of the 6’4’’ singer, who hails from Florien, Louisiana, where he works with his brothers on an oil field.

However, the judges quickly changed their tune as soon as Mitchell began his audition.

“Holy crap,” Perry said, seconds after Mitchell started singing, as Bryan became so moved by the performance he actually started singing along himself from his seat.

Tyler Mitchell
Nicole Rivelli/ABC

“What a special moment,” Perry, 34, said, following the heartfelt performance, before asking Mitchell whether he had much experience with performing.

When Mitchell shared he didn’t because he had a fear of forgetting his lyrics, the “Chained to the Rhythm” singer told him he needed to move past that.

“You could sing jibberish and it would be great, I mean literally, a star is born,” she added.

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Coming up with his own creative compliment, judge Lionel Richie remarked, “Tyler, you are in the oil business. Let me tell you what you did on your audition here: you struck oil.”

“You woke us up and that’s exactly what a star is supposed to do, congratulations,” he added.

Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie

Sharing one last word of wisdom before all three judges officially sent Mitchell off to the next round of competitions in Hollywood, Perry told him that he had absolutely “nothing to fear.”

“Believe in yourself, because you’re going to go all the way,” she added.

American Idol’s cross-country audition tour will move forward with an all-new episode on Wednesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC, then will continue every Sunday, with five additional Monday night episodes starting March 18.