‘American Idol’: Lionel Richie Sobs After Performance of Contestant Who Almost Died 9 Times
6th March 2023

Fellow judge Katy Perry is also impressed by ophthalmologist technician Elijah McCormack’s performance as she believes that he will make it to ‘Top 10 for sure.’

AceShowbiz -A contestant moved Lionel Richie to tears in a new episode of “American Idol“. Airing on Sunday, March 5, the outing saw Elijah McCormack offering an impressive performance and sharing how he encountered death several times.

The 21-year-old ophthalmologist technician from Raeford, North Carolina told the judges, who also included Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, that he came to the audition after he flatlined nine times following a fiery crash, which occurred hours after his graduation ceremony. He added that his mom signed him up for “American Idol” prior to the incident.

“The last thing I remember is dropping my friend off at her house, and I was only a mile away from home,” Elijah explained, adding he spent almost 80 days in the hospital and underwent about 10 procedures, including open heart surgery. His mom, meanwhile, shared, “His first question to me (after the accident) was, ‘Momma, can I still sing?’ “

Thankfully, he still can sing. He belted out “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts and the performance was enough to get Lionel emotional. Lionel and Luke agreed that Elijah’s voice immediately reminded them of “American Idol” legend, Willie Spence, who finished in second place in season 19 and died in a car crash in October 2022.

“The last person that I saw approach singing like you was Willie Spence,” Luke commented. Lionel added, “That’s what got me. You hit one of those notes, and I thought of Willie, and from then on I couldn’t recover.”

Lionel also told Elijah that “God brought you back nine times for you to do something amazing.” He continued, “I’m so glad you’re here with us, and that was just one of the moments in my life I will never forget.”

Lionel called him a “golden child,” with Elijah admitting that the doctors also called him “golden child” at the hospital. As for Katy, she believed that this was just “the beginning of [his] story.” She also noted that Elijah had the Top 10 material.

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