Monday’s episode of “American Idol” featured some of the most impressive auditions of the season, from 16-year-old country wunderkind Chloe Channell to soulful powerhouse Emma Kleinberg.
But none were more memorable than Nick Merico, the swoony singer who had all the judges blushing when he walked into the room.
“You’re Hunkasaurus Rex!” Luke Bryan shouted, as Katy Perry grinned and flirted with the Miami native.
Merico, 22, explained how he grew up listening to “The Sound of Music” and learned guitar and piano. While he always harbored singing ambitions, as a teenager he took a detour into acting, starring in four seasons of Nickelodeon sitcom “Every Witch Way.”
“It was amazing, but at the bottom of my heart, I knew music was always what I wanted to do,” Merico said. “It’s where my soul lies.”
Playing the piano, he delivered a soft, stirring rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” that felt both fresh and familiar.
“That was about as close to crooning as I’ve ever seen,” Richie raved afterward. “You have that dreamy-eyes look, and then you opened your mouth. Your sound is amazing. If it all goes well, you could be famous.”
“Nick, there are some people that can sing better than you, but may be missing other pieces of the puzzle,” Perry added. “You want to be here because you’re talented and a real artist, so focus on that.”
Auditions are now officially over, so Merico and dozens of other “Idol” hopefuls will begin Hollywood Week Sunday (ABC, 8 EST/PST).
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