Entertainment Music Single Mom Makes Emotional 'American Idol' Return After Katy Perry Gave Her Second Chance to Audition Fire Wilmore, a 22-year-old single mom and exotic dancer, did not make it to Hollywood on her first audition, but was offered an invitation to return by judge Katy Perry By Rachel DeSantis Published on March 27, 2023 02:50 PM Share Tweet Pin Email The second time was the charm for American Idol contestant Fire Wilmore! Wilmore, a 22-year-old single mom, made it through to Hollywood on this week's episode of Idol after Katy Perry gave her a second chance to wow the judges following a failed audition. The singer previously auditioned with "Talking to the Moon" by Bruno Mars, and brought her 4-year-old daughter Maja with her as she sang for Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. Though the judges felt she needed to be pushed a bit further before advancing, her life story moved the trio. Wilmore was born in Oklahoma to a drug-addicted mother, and was in state custody as a child. After giving birth to her daughter at age 18, she became a stripper in order to make ends meet. "I need to do this for my daughter. I don't want her to live the life that I had in any shape, way or form," she said during her audition. After her first go-round, Perry invited Wilmore to work on her craft and return to Idol one month later during Nashville auditions — and that's just what she did. Fire Wilmore. Eric McCandless/ABC Watch Katy Perry's Eye-Popping Reaction to an 'Idol' Contestant's Take on Lionel Richie's 'Hello' "I was feeling ashamed and kind of embarrassed so I went and sang songs all day every day in my house, everywhere, because I don't want to keep dancing," Wilmore explained of her preparation. "I need to prove that I deserve the second chance. I'm working, I'm working, I'm working for my daughter. I want to make her proud and any doubt that I have in my life I was just gonna take it away and go for it." This time around, Wilmore chose "a more emotional song," opting to sing "Love in the Dark" by Adele. "That whole situation happened in New Orleans… honestly, I wasn't focused," she told Perry, Bryan and Richie of her first audition. "It was a bit of a handful having my daughter with me… [These] lyrics bring back all the emotions of what I felt in that first audition." Wilmore's dedication certainly paid off, as each judge praised her for returning and she received a unanimous "yes" vote to Hollywood. "We told you to go away and you have come back in here with a completely different mindset," Bryan said. "Are you the best singer we've seen? Not at all. But there's just stuff about you that I'd really like to push you on. You got a lot left to discover with all that." Added Perry: "Luke's right. Something about you has shifted. I think you've lived a lot of your life in protection mode, and so being able to open back up again, that's the gift. Take that no and maybe you'll actually really surprise us and yourself."