Siblings Max and Laela Dasher Impress American Idol Judges In Rare Family Showcase

“It’s definitely in the DNA,” Katy Perry exclaimed.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 3, 2024


8:13 pm

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Laela Dasher, Max Dasher; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

American Idol viewers witnessed a rare moment on Sunday when Max Dasher and Laela Dasher, a pair of siblings, auditioned separately for the show and both walked away with golden tickets to Hollywood. 

First up was Max, who appeared to be a bit timid as he entered the audition room. 

How Old Is Max Dasher?

The 18-year-old, who hails from Black Mountain, North Carolina showcased his singing chops with a cover of what he dubbed an “old country ballad” – “Rock Salt & Nails” by Utah Phillips.

Max Dasher; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Max Dasher; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

As his sister, Laela, listened from outside, Max impressed the judges with his vocal range and guitar picking. 

Katy Perry was the first to offer feedback, telling the contestant, “You have that sparkle. It’s the stuff, there’s like an undeniable authenticity. It’s like a gold rush.” 

Next up was Luke Bryan, who leaped out of his chair to take action. “Alright, here’s lesson number one,” he told Max. 

Max Dasher; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Max Dasher; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

The country superstar proceeded to walk up to Max and pop his collar. 

“Help him out, Luke,” Lionel Richie exclaimed. 

Then, the chart-topping country star proceeded to give Max a lesson in swagger, trying to build up his confidence. In doing so, he made him reenact his walk into the audition room. 

“You’ve got to have the strut,” Bryan encouraged him. 

Re-Live Max Dasher’s Audition

YouTube video

After Max appeared to be a bit more confident, Bryan said, “See, what I love about you is you just did your audition exactly the way I would have, freaking out playing the guitar. Like you were trying to break a string. If we can get you to breathe and calm down and understand that you’re pretty damn cool, man, you’ve got a little bit of magic to you.”

Richie continued to build up the contestant, telling him, “Your mantra should be, I’m 18 and I look like James Dean. You’re going to have to bump up your vocals, but remember your attitude comes with it. I’m 18, but I look like James Dean.”

Each judge voted “yes,” which earned Max Dasher a ticket to Hollywood. 

What happened next was quite interesting as Max Dasher reappeared in the audition room, this time with his sister, Laela Dasher. The judges appeared to be confused.  

“You already got your golden ticket,” Perry told him. “Get out of here!” 

They explained that Max was there to accompany Laela on guitar for her audition. 

“So it runs in the family, huh?” Perry questioned. 

Re-Live Laela Dasher’s Audition

YouTube video

Laela hoped to follow in her brother’s footsteps and performed John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” with hopes of earning her very own golden ticket. 

How Old Is Laela Dasher?

The 20-year-old kept the attention of the judges, but it appears she didn’t win them over as quickly as her bother.

“It’s definitely in the DNA,” Perry quipped following Laela’s performance. 

Richie was quick to chime in, adding, “It is in the blood!” 

Perry, however, admitted to be at a crossroads when it was time to make the decision. “Layla, your brother and you have some similarities in delivery as far as volume goes. I was looking for a little bit more, and I’m just torn,” she told her. 

Bryan requested that they sing together and they obliged, performing a snippet of another song at his request. 

“It’s just magical. I don’t know what you all going to do next, but I know I’m going to like it…” Richie who said Max and Laela were “magical” when they were separate and together. 

Richie voted “yes” and Perry said she was sticking with her gut and voted “no.” 

It all came down to Luke Bryan, who shared, “I’m not busting y’all up! I’m giving you a yes.” 

Max Dasher and Laela Dasher are officially heading to Hollywood.

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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.