Alabama Garbage Man’s ‘American Idol’ Audition Leaves Judges Emotional The season 18 premiere of American Idol showcased auditions from a number of incredibly talented individuals, including 27-year-old Doug…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 16, 2020


9:45 pm

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American Idol Contestant Doug Kiker and Luke Bryan; Photo by ABC/Eliza Morse

The season 18 premiere of American Idol showcased auditions from a number of incredibly talented individuals, including 27-year-old Doug Kiker, a garbage man from Alabama.

“I’m a garbage man. I work on the back of a garbage truck,” Kiker explained to judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry of his backstory.

When they asked how much singing experience he had, Kiker told the truth – NONE.

“I have some experience now,” he laughed.

Kiker went on to reveal that he auditioned for Idol in honor of his 2-year-old daughter, Elianna Elizabeth.

“I’m trying to show her, like, if you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t do,” he said.

While conversing with the judges, Kiker appeared to be a bit starstruck, admitting several times he was taken back by Perry’s beauty.

“You’re really pretty,” he told her after apologizing for being nervous.

After taking a quick break to warm up, he returned for his audition, singing “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. His performance seemed to impress the judges. Perry wanted to see more and asked him to showcase his range.

After admitting he had no idea what that was, Bryan jumped in to help.

Taking a seat at a nearby piano, the country superstar began to sing “Bless the Broken Road” and coached Kiker along as they sang together.

Doug Kiker’s audition was undoubtedly one of the night’s most emotional moments, leaving Perry and many viewers in tears. Watch the heartwarming audition in the clip above.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.