Luke Bryan Surprised By Alanis Sophia’s Brandi Carlile Cover on ‘American Idol’

American Idol returned to ABC on Sunday evening (April 11) with the exciting unveiling of the Top 16. After learning…


Lauren Jo Black

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April 11, 2021


8:05 pm

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American Idol returned to ABC on Sunday evening (April 11) with the exciting unveiling of the Top 16.

After learning she would be advancing to the next round of the competition, standout contestant Alanis Sophia once again wowed the judges with a powerful performance that showcased her undeniable vocal prowess.

Taking the stage with a cover of Brandi Carlile’s “The Story,” the 19-year-old proved she’s a force to be reckoned with as she delivered a flawless rendition of the song, which serves as the title track to Carlile’s second studio album. 

Sophia’s performance earned a standing ovation and praise from Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

“Wow, I thought it was a great song choice for your voice! You’re showing off a little bit more of your serious singer/songwriter choice,” Perry told her. “And it’s so scary to get your name called and then be thrown on stage. It’s like getting a wildcard text right before you’re supposed to perform and you’re like ‘woah keep it together.’ So, you’re so young and you’re keeping it together, good for you.”

YouTube video

Bryan admitted that he’s taken back by each and every one of Sophia’s performances. 

“That was a rangy song… Just make sure on your lower end stuff to get your breath. Your high end is so amazing and it surprises us every time you’re in front of us,” Bryan said. “Even like when I was home watching your live performance, everything about you on my tv said ‘star.’”

Richie, too, was blown away. 

“Did we just witness an explosion? I don’t know, something happened…You were down in the valley in the mud and all of a sudden you exploded,” Richie gushed. ”What I want you to understand is there’s a huge stage here, play the stage, play the audience, work it because other than that, star power is all over your my dear.”

The 19-year-old singer previously impressed the Idol judges with performances of Demi Lovato’s “Anyone,” Alanis Morissette’s 1998 hit “Uninvited” and more. She also recently performed a duet with Jimmie Allen during the celebrity duets round.

Fans can vote for Alanis Sophia by using the official American Idol app, visiting or by texting 1 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 Alanis Sophia’s performance of “The Story.” 

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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.