Like many “American Idol” hopefuls, Ashley Hess got a late start in music.
The ebullient 27-year-old from Fremont, California, says she settled on a stable job as a dental hygienist, but eventually worked up the courage to pursue her singing passion and move to Nashville.
“Cleaning people’s teeth is not as fun, for some reason, as my 18-year-old self thought it’d be,” Hess laughed during Sunday’s episode of the ABC competition.
According to the “Idol” judges, she made the right call.
“She could win the whole thing,” Katy Perry said after Hess’ warm, crystalline take on Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why.”
“I’m just mad that you don’t believe in yourself,” Perry added, feigning outrage. “You could win this whole competition! Wake up!”
Co-judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie were equally ecstatic during Hess’ performances, gathering around the piano as she played and smiling as she gained confidence.
“Can I snap you out of your delusional state of mind?” Richie said. “You could knock this out of the ballpark.”
“American Idol” auditions continue Monday (8 EST/PST), before the show moves to Hollywood Week March 24.
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