American Idol returned to ABC on Sunday evening (April 11) with the exciting unveiling of the Top 16.
Caleb Kennedy secured a spot in the next round and immediately took the stage to perform a cover of “Midnight Train To Memphis” by Chris Stapleton.
His performance earned praise from Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, who also encouraged him to show more personality when he’s on stage.
“Caleb, I’ve been studying you and I am convinced this brother has ice water in his veins, stone cold… You come up on stage, you sing the hell out of a song, no reaction. The band is killing it and you stand there stone cold,” Richie shared. “Caleb, that was brilliant for you, and by the way you did a great job, but I’m telling you, you’ve got a lot to do and a lot going forward but hang in there because that voice you just did was wonderful.”
Perry praised his performance and also echoed Richie’s comments.
“It’s almost like I can never see your eyes and I kind of like it. Who are you? I want to know more,” she told him. “You just have like this grit, this real country. You are becoming the outlaw…”
“You know Caleb, to be 16 and to be really able to stick to your guns on what you are and to not be manipulated by everything going on around you, speaks that hey this guy’s got a course he wants to stay on and that’s very hard for a 16-year-old to do, ” Bryan added.
The 16-year-old previously impressed the Idol judges with performances of two different self-penned songs that truly impressed Idol judges, especially Luke Bryan who praised his gritty country vocals. He also recently performed a duet of “Fly Over States” alongside Jason Aldean during the celebrity duet round.
Fans can vote for Caleb Kennedy by using the official American Idol app, visiting AmericanIdol.com/vote or by texting 22 to 21523. Please note, fans can vote 10 times, per contestant, per voting method.
American Idol airs on Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
Click above to watch Caleb Kennedy’s performance of “Midnight Train To Memphis.”