One of the best things to come from any opening episode of a new season of ABC’s American Idol is some of the heartwarming stories brought in by hopeful singers during their audition. Though it’s easy to think that these people are just one person in a line of a million, hoping for their chance at stardom, American Idol does a good job of showing that there is so much more behind the singer.
DJ Johnson is no exception. During the Season 4 premiere, contestant DJ Johnson brought out the feels in all three judges during her emotional performance where she sang a song about her estranged mom.
DJ Johnson’s audition made the ‘American Idol’ judges cry.
When DJ walked into the room and stood in front of judges, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, she shared that the song she was going to audition with was very personal to her. The song was about her mother, who left the family a year ago. The 18-year-old Texas resident wasn’t able to get all the way through the song without crying herself. For her audition, DJ sang an original song called “Scars,” which she used to share her feelings about her mother’s sudden abandonment.
“I didn’t care when you walked out that door / Lookin’ back you never loved anyone but yourself,” the artist sang. “How could I have been so blind? / We all see through you and your lies,” she sang.
She continued, “How could a mother be okay leaving scars on her children? / How could a woman be okay leaving a husband heartbroken?” She attempted to get out one more line of the song before needing to pause to curtail a breakdown.
“Take your time, I know it’s heavy,” Lionel Richie told her.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, none of the judges could go up to the aspiring singer and give her a hug. However, Judge Lionel Richie got up and asked her dad to come into the room for moral support as well as give her his handkerchief. After a hug and some encouragement from her dad, DJ Johnson finished the song and got a golden ticket to Hollywood.
DJ Johnson’s mother left her and their family just a year prior to her audition.
In a previously recorded interview, DJ opened up to American Idol producers about her family’s tragedy. “Up until last year, uh, our mom left,” she shared. “Just one day, she just walked out.”
“Growing up, I did want a relationship with my mom,” she shared. “I just remember wanting her to be there, and she wasn’t. The way she would say things, ‘You’re not good enough, try to be somebody else.’ I would sing, and then she made it sound like I wasn’t good enough to go anywhere.”
She added, “It just always made me feel worthless. The hardest part was, I believed her.” She said when her mom left it felt “like a relief” because she could get back to music without her mother’s influence.
Twitter reacted to DJ’s touching audition.
The judges and DJ weren’t the only ones needing to grab some tissues after her touching song. Twitter started flooding with words of support for the young singer. One user tweeted, “DJ JOHNSON HAD ME BALLIN AND THEN KATY STARTED CRYING AND THEN I STARTED CRYING EVEN MORE #AmericanIdol”
Another echoed, “WOW, DJ Johnson’s audition. Her dad and Lionel Richie started crying. We are all crying, phenomenal babe."