Meet Cecil Ray, a 20-year-old machine operator from Cameron, Texas, who wowed the American Idol judges with his performance of Morgan Wallen’s “Talkin’ Tennessee.”
The father of one earned a ticket to Hollywood and received impeccable feedback from the judges, including country superstar Luke Bryan.
“I think you are absolute perfection,” Bryan told him. “Listen, you are what we’re about here at American Idol.”
After critiquing his performance and the way he seemed to have “ants in his pants,” Bryan offered Cecil the compliment of a lifetime.
“Your voice really distinctive and interesting and really good enough to potentially do really well in this competition,” Bryan shared. “We always want this male, country kid slot and you may be the best we’ve seen this year potentially in that slot, in my opinion.”
Katy Perry compared Cecil to a “country Justin Bieber” and gave him advice to “ground himself” before performing.
Lionel Richie had nothing but good things to say as well.
“Cecil, sometimes in your career, people can see your potential, before you can see your potential,” he said. “You have no idea in your rawness, what it is that you have.”
Click above to watch Cecil Ray perform Morgan Wallen’s “Talkin’ Tennessee.”
American Idol returns on Sunday (March 7) at 8/7c.