Dontrell Briggs fulfilled a lifelong dream when he auditioned for American Idol on Sunday, March 13, performing in honor of his late Godmother, Betty Morrison, who passed away in April 2021 from sarcoidosis.
“I miss her a lot,” Briggs shared ahead of his performance. “She played a very big part in my life…. Not a day that I could not call her, and she would be right there for me.”
“She fought for a long time [and] didn’t let anything stop her. She always kept going. To lose her was very hard to deal with,” Briggs continued. “‘American Idol’ is a dream of mine. It’s something me and my Godmother, we would talk about often. In a way, she is here in spirit. And I do believe that if I get that golden ticket, she is going to be rejoicing with the angels.”
The 26-year-old Direct Support Associate from Maxton, North Carolina went on to perform a cover of Tasha Cobbs’ “For Your Glory,” during which he become overcome with emotions as he showcased his vocal abilities.
“Gospel,” Katy Perry shouted as he ended his audition, later adding, “You were moved, Lionel.”
“Yeah. You know some people can come in and just sing, and then some people come in just let God come through them,” Lionel Richie replied. “And your dear friend over there, she was actually standing right next to you while you were singing. I felt every breath of that performance.”
“Would you say you’re 80%, 90% or 100% a gospel singer?” Luke Bryan asked, to which Briggs replied, “100%!”
Idol Judges Katy Perry And Luke Bryan Struggled With Briggs’ Vibrato
“I need to be listening to more gospel, but I’m no expert. If I could shape and mold you where you don’t give us so much of that kind of staggered vibrato. I mean, you really lean on that a lot. You don’t have to as much. I just don’t want that to become redundant to the listener,” Bryan added.
“Dontrell, I agree with Lionel, the sincerity is so there,” Perry added, “But I do think this low vibrato is just not keeping me in it.
“I think you’ve got that potential to change that vibrato,” Richie said.
Dontrell Briggs Proved Himself With A Cover Of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey”
After the judges’ struggle with Briggs’ vibrato, which led Perry to a ‘no,’ Briggs offered to sing another song before Bryan made his decision, which would be the deciding factor if the contestant goes to Hollywood.
Briggs then performed a cover of “Tennessee Whiskey” (George Jones, Chris Stapleton).
“Yes, you’re going to Hollywood, I just got chills all over on that one,” Bryan said as he threw his pen down on the table.
Following his cover of the iconic country hit, Briggs received praise from Perry and a big hug from Richie, who said “you delivered that, I’m so proud.”
American Idol airs every Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.