‘American Idol': Gospel Singer Dontrell Briggs’ Moving ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ Cover Wins Luke Bryan Over [Watch]
Soul singer Dontrell Briggs gave Luke Bryan chills on Sunday (March 13) night when he auditioned for Season 20 of American Idol — but it took his second choice song to receive that kind of reaction from the country superstar.
Briggs — who revealed to judges that his godmother Betty Morrison, died in April of 2021 from a disease called sarcoidosis — earned his Golden Ticket with an on-the-fly rendition of Chris Stapleton’s version of “Tennessee Whiskey,” originally recorded by David Allan Coe.
“Yes! You’re going to Hollywood,” Bryan said, throwing down his pen and giving a smile of approval. “I just got chills all over that one!”
“Hallelujah, hallelujah!” Lionel Richie shouted.
A 26-year-old gospel singer from Maxton, N.C., Briggs initially auditioned with Tasha Cobbs’ “For Your Glory” as tribute to his late godmother. Although the performance moved Richie to tears, all three judges unanimously believed the hopeful utilized too much of his low vibrato.
“If I could shape and mold you, where you don’t give us so much of that kind of staggered vibrato — you really lean on that a lot, but you don’t have to as much. I just don’t want that to become redundant to the listener,” Bryan told Briggs. “I am utterly torn.”
“I do think this low vibrato is just not keeping me in it. So, I’m not quite sure,” Katy Perry added, voting ‘no’ for Briggs this time around.
“I think you have all the potential to change that vibrato,” Richie said with confidence, before Briggs offered to sing "Tennessee Whiskey."
Telling judges that he would fix his vibrato, Briggs received a ‘yes' from Richie and Bryan.
Briggs’ mini performance was part of the third round of American Idol Season 20 auditions, which took place in Nashville, Tenn. Future episodes of Idol will find hopefuls singing their hearts out in cities including Los Angeles and Austin. American Idol airs Sundays at 8PM ET on ABC.
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