ABC’s American Idol returned on Sunday evening with performances from the Top 24, who were vying for America’s vote for the first time ever. Contestant Mike Parker has endured an emotional Idol journey so far and his experience during this round was no different.
After auditioning for the show with a cover of Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine,” Parker has continued to pursue country music and admitted that Luke Bryan telling him he was a country singer lit a fire in him to keep on his country path.
Parker emotionally explained how Idol mentor Jimmie Allen inspired his career and was thrilled over the opportunity to meet him.
The Virginia native’s song choice was Jimmie Allen’s “Best Shot.”
“That song… I was the first black country artist with a No. 1 debut single,” Allen told him. “To have you singing that song right now is so dope.”
The pair bonded over their experiences as Allen told him, “To hear you tell me that I’m an inspiration just proves this is all worth it.”
“He made me feel like there is a spot for me in country music,” Parker added.
As Allen watched from the front row, Parker confidently made his way around the stage and said this moment was “another dream” that came true for him.
Allen was overcome with emotions following the performance.
“For him to tell me that I mean to him what Charley Pride meant to me is more than I could’ve asked for, so thank you,” Allen said as tears steamed down his cheek. ”And thank you for continuing what me, Charley, Mickey [Guyton], Kane [Brown], and Darius [Rucker] want to see in this genre of music. So, thank you.”
The Idol judges also praised Mike Parker’s performance.
“Thank you for making me not have to judge,” Luke Bryan said. “I got to sit back and really watch what we’ve kind of been telling you start coming altogether. Then to see that he’s inspiring you and you guys get to meet. I mean, what a great moment you just had on stage. I could just enjoy the birth of you as an artist.”
“I kept flashing back and forth between what you were just experiencing and what I experienced. One of those guys in my life showed up, it was Kenny Rogers,” Lionel Richie recalled. “I was in the audience, he was on stage singing my song and so I just kept watching the two of you interact, and I said ‘there’s his Kenny.’ You know, because you were in the mindset and having that guy you cherish the most says it all.”
“Mike, I really think that this experience has helped you arrive. Finally, I think you have landed because it was all the things we’ve been saying all season long… all the ingredients were in that song. I also agree with Luke, it’s all coming together,” Perry added.
To vote for Mike Parker visit AmericanIdol.com/Vote or Text 7 to 21523.