Meet Mary Jo Young, the TikTok Sensation About to Cause a Stir on 'American Idol'

Leila Kozma - Author

Mar. 1 2021, Updated 3:29 p.m. ET

Mary Jo Young
Source: ABC

"It was very bright, but I liked it," Mary Jo Young said, describing what it was like to walk on stage at American Idol in a recently-posted clip. 

The talented singer launched her career around a year ago, with a string of clips posted on TikTok and Twitter. Her sensational renditions of pop classics like "Castle on the Hill" by Ed Sheeran gained traction in no time — and she quickly got her first taste of success. By the time she appeared on American Idol, she knew she was onto something. 

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Mary Jo is a renowned TikToker and one of the latest additions to the cast of 'American Idol.'

A prolific singer, Mary Jo obtained a loyal fan base with a string of goosebump-inducing takes on hit tunes like "Control" by Zoe Wees or "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United. Mary Jo's covers garnered hundreds of thousands of views. 

As to her most-watched clip? Her brilliant version of Tate McRae's "you broke me first" reportedly garnered a whopping 5 million views and 1 million likes on TikTok. Arguably, this is a rarity for artists who are just starting out in the field. 

mary jo american idol tiktok
Source: Instagram
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Mary Jo racked up a whopping 290,000 followers on TikTok, where she can be found at @maryjo.young. 

"I've never performed," she confessed to Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan during the first few minutes of her American Idol audition. As her TikToks evince, Mary Jo tends to record songs in her bedroom and the bathroom — likely because of the first-class acoustics — and occasionally, in her car. 

A relative new-comer to the world of live music, she kicked off her American Idol audition with the hit song that likely earned her unparalleled success on TikTok, "you broke me first" by Tate McRae. Switching the Calgary-born singer's husky whispers to well-rounded, absolutely beautiful vocals, Mary Jo amazed the judges with her incredible range and wonderful voice. 

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Source: TikTok

Hesitant to let her pass through to the next round because of her lack of experience, the judges decided to call in Mary Jo's mother. Mary Jo's take on Lewis Capaldi's "Bruises" turned out to be an equally big success, helping her further prove that she deserves a place in the competition. 

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"I'm kind of in love with the idea of watching you grow actually on the show. You're going to learn everything from American Idol. It's a yes for me, [it will be] interesting to watch the journey," Lionel Richie explained. 

"Never forget where you came from, no matter how far you end up going. It's a yes for me," Katy Perry advised her. 

"Top ten, I think," Luke Bryan said. 

Source: TikTok
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Mary Jo was reportedly approached by several talent shows, including 'American Idol.'

After graduating from Willoughby South High School in 2019, Mary Jo enrolled at Cleveland State University to study business, per News 5 Cleveland. She was approached by several talent shows before her first appearance on American Idol.  

"I was kind of like, 'Oh jeez,' I didn't think that show would reach out and when they did, I felt honored and when they kept reaching out, I was like, 'Oh, ok! This is getting me excited!'" Mary Jo told News 5 Cleveland

Catch new episodes of American Idol every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. 

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