‘American Idol’ Season 18 finalist spotlight: Louis Knight has big shoes to fill as Luke Bryan calls him ‘the biggest star we’ve had’

Louis Knight began his “American Idol” journey singing an original song called “Change” about his best friend that committed suicide. The 19-year old pizza delivery guy from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania reminded the judges of a young boy band member, but quickly showed the judges he is more than a handsome face. Knight was one of 20 Season 18 finalists featured on the “American Idol” special, “This is Me” airing on April 12 and April 19 on ABC.

Besides being about music, “American Idol” is about people, their stories and their dreams. Host Ryan Seacrest narrates this deep dive into the contestants where we hear more personal stories, see highlights from their audition process and learn what it took for them to convince judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan to select them as finalists.

“Nine years ago the family decided to move to Philly,” Knight recalls about his immigration from England. “When you decide to move overseas you realize how much more you really have to stick together. Family is everything. Middle school was quite a tough time and at that point I started turning to music more. My mom bought me a piano and that’s when I wrote my first song.”

SEE: ‘American Idol’ schedule update: Live shows start May 3, season 18 finale is May 17

“I heard him playing something, and I asked, ‘Who is that?'” says his mother. “And he responded, ‘Oh it’s mine mom. I just started doing that this morning!’ We’re hugely proud of him and we just know he’s going to absolutely change the world song by song.” Following his initial audition, the judges were smitten with this British invasion.

“I think you might be the biggest star we’ve ever had on ‘American Idol’,” said Bryan. And in Hollywood, Knight reminded Perry of someone else. “He’s giving me Harry Styles vibes,” expressed the judge. The good vibes kept coming in the Hollywood solo round when he sang “Hold Me While You Wait,” by Lewis Capaldi.

SEE ‘American Idol’ Winners: Where Are They Now (Seasons 1 – 17)?

The season heartthrob was filled with confidence leading into his Hawaii showcase, where he gave an upbeat performance of “Castle On the Hill” by Ed Sheeran. But although the teenager was feeling the crowd, the judges weren’t feeling him. “That wasn’t his best performance,” remarked Perry. “He got into his head and he needs a good talking to.” So that’s what the judges did at his final judgment, advising him to sing with his heart while pushing him forward into the Top 20.

“I knew in my heart that I didn’t perform as well as I could have,” admits Knight. “I’m just so grateful that they’ve given me another chance.” For her part, Mom plans to keep him grounded, saying, “No superstar mentality in my house!” as she plants a kiss on his cheek.

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