Luke Bryan Says Mike Parker Has ‘The Potential To Be Truly Amazing’ After He Sings ’90s Country Hit on ‘Idol’

Mike Parker grew up in Virginia and was surrounded by music as a child because his parents were the lead…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 6, 2022


9:34 pm

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Mike Parker, Luke Bryan; American Idol

Mike Parker grew up in Virginia and was surrounded by music as a child because his parents were the lead vocalists in a band, so it’s no surprise that he would catch the musical bug. 

That led him to American Idol where he stepped up to audition even though his family was going through a rather difficult time.

Before his Idol audition, Parker’s mom came down with a mystery illness. 


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“It could be leukemia,” he said during the show, revealing that she was hospitalized the day before he left for his audition. 

“I feel guilty in a sense being here, but I know this is exactly what she would want,” he admitted. 

Accompanied by a piano, Parker delivered a soulful rendition of Deana Carter‘s “Strawberry Wine.” 

YouTube video

The judges appeared to be shocked by Parker’s talent.

“That last green on the vine thing just gave me chill bumps,” Luke Bryan shared after his performance. “If you would just walk out there and just be cool and deliver it really silky, man, it’s gonna crush!” 

Lionel Richie asked him to elaborate on what kind of music he listens to. 

“I listen to a lot of country but I am R&B and soul just as a makeup, as an origin,” the Virginia native explained. 

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan; American Idol
Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan; American Idol

“Man, I think you’re a country singer. I think you have the potential to be truly amazing,” Bryan added. 

Katy Perry was all-in as well as she asked, “If I said Top 24, would you prove me right? Could you go even farther than that?” 


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Parker told her he thought and could and Perry advised, “Lean into that country.” 

Before making his official decisions, Richie continued to offer Parker advice.

“Simplicity is king…your voice cry, that texture in your voice? That’s the goal. I really mean that,” he told him. “You have all the goods to make that happen.” 

Mike Parker; Photo Courtesy American Idol
Mike Parker; Photo Courtesy American Idol

Richie then made his way across the room to give the American Idol hopeful a hug. 

“Every once in a while, something comes along where you become the example for so many kids that they don’t have to stay in a box. All black folks don’t play basketball. All black folks don’t rap,” Richie said. 

They laughed together as they said “I don’t do either!” 

“This is your inspiring moment. Take this and run with it,” Richie concluded. 


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A post shared by Mike Parker (@musicbymikeparker)

Bryan agreed and told him, “You’re 27 years old. It’s never too late to start checking off all them dreams, buddy.”

Mike Parker earned his way to Hollywood with a triple “yes” from the Idol judges’ panel. 

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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.