Luke Bryan Makes Bold Prediction About 20-Year-Old American Idol Contestant Elleigh Marie

The country superstar thinks the full-time cosmetologist is top 10 material.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 17, 2024

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Elleigh Marie, Luke Bryan; Photos Courtesy ABC, American Idol

Elleigh Marie captured the hearts of American Idol judges and viewers alike with a performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” during her audition on Sunday evening (March 17). 

A Military Daughter

The 20-year-old who hails from American Fork, Utah, introduced herself to the judges with personal stories of her background as the daughter of an airman in the Air Force and a theater teacher.  

Growing up was “pretty rough” for Elleigh, who had to take on more responsibilities with her dad being deployed and her mom suffering from kidney disease and thyroid disease. 

Elleigh Marie; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Elleigh Marie; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

“We actually just found out today that he’s getting deployed for a year,” she revealed as tears filled her eyes.  

While Elleigh works as a full-time cosmetologist, she has always loved to sing and decided to give Idol a shot. 

“I’ve always loved American Idol. My mom’s a singer, so we watched it growing up,” she told the judges. 

Elleigh Marie; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Elleigh Marie; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

For her performance, Elleigh Marie was accompanied by a piano player. She showcased her rich vocals throughout her performance of  “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and the judges appeared to be mesmerized as she sang.

After hitting a high note on the final verse, Elleigh Marie wiped tears from her eyes as the judges gave her a standing ovation. 

“Nobody’s ever hit that high note at the end!” Katy Perry applauded. 

Elleigh Marie; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Elleigh Marie; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

The pop icon admitted that her performance started off “somewhat average,” but said that she turned things around by the end.  

“Then you landed it in a space that was like, woah, oh my gosh! If you sang from that space every time you would be in superstar territory,” Perry added. 

Luke Bryan made a bold prediction about Elleigh Marie’s future. “I think she’s top 10.”

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The country star added, “There’s just really beautiful things going on in your voice. Especially when you settle down.”

“When she soars,” Perry interjected. 

Bryan agreed and added, “It got really well done, really classy. Really older than your years. I just loved it. Loved it!”

Lionel Richie’s thoughts were aligned with his fellow Idol cohorts. 

“You went to a place that was so pure and so angelic that it was really one of those moments where we couldn’t keep our eyes off of you,” he told her. 

Before the judges cast their votes, Perry asked Elleigh, “Have you never just thought, well, maybe I should just pursue this and take it seriously for a second?

While acknowledging the thought, she finds herself torn, largely due to her family circumstances, with her father’s frequent deployments.

“You’re at a fork in the road,” Perry pointed out. 

The judges asked Elleigh to bring in her family before they revealed her fate. 

“She is like the perfect American Idol contestant,” Bryan said as they waited for her family to arrive. 

The judges voted a unanimous “yes.”

“Well, your angel, Elleigh just sang from her heart. She was really emotional before she sang. So you might be deployed in April, but she might be going somewhere in February,” Perry told her family. 

Elleigh Marie Is Heading To Hollywood

Following her audition, the American Idol contestant excitedly shared, “So excited to finally be able to talk about it. This means so much to me and I’m so happy to be able to share all of this with you.” 

American Idol airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC. 

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

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 Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. 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.