When Caleb Kennedy auditions for the “American Idol” judges during Sunday’s fourth episode, he chooses to perform his original song, titled “Nowhere.” The only problem? He’s only written the first verse and hasn’t yet completed it. “I’ll help you right now,” Luke Bryan tells the 16-year-old student from Roebuck, SC. He’s not the only judge impressed by Caleb’s song-writing abilities, as Katy Perry chimes in, “You better finish that song ‘Nowhere’ because that song is gonna take you somewhere.” Watch the “American Idol” sneak peek video above. The full episode airs March 7 on ABC.
In his pre-taped video package, Caleb confesses that he “lost himself” after his parents’ divorce, and writing songs helps him to rediscover who he is as a person. “I want to be a legend,” he declares while wearing an authentic black cowboy hat. “I want to be someone who changed country music … I kind of want to be an outlaw, too.”
After his performance, the judges instruct Caleb to remove his hat so they can see his eyes, and that’s when his mullet comes into full view. “Look at that mullet!” Katy exclaims excitedly.
Luke asks the teenager how often he writes music and he responds, “Every day. I’ve always got something going through my head. I’m more of a writer than I’d call myself a singer.” He then admits that he “lacks self-confidence” in his voice.
When it comes time for the judges to critique his performance, they have nothing but praise. Luke starts by saying, “Here’s the deal. You ain’t the only kid out there that’s lacking self-confidence these days. Your voice tells a story far beyond a 16-year-old kid.” Katy adds that his voice is “special” with a “grit and gravel and crack” to it that tells people he’s in pain. Lionel Richie agrees, noting that he’s “mastered” a story-teller’s voice.
If Caleb ends up winning “American Idol,” he’d be the fourth full-on country singer following Carrie Underwood (Season 4), Scotty McCreery (Season 10) and Laine Hardy (Season 17). Other champs have dabbled in the genre, including Taylor Hicks (Season 5) and Trent Harmon (Season 15). Find out whether Caleb gets a golden ticket to Hollywood on Sunday night.