American Idol / YouTube
The audition they shared shows McKenna Breinholt, a 25-year-old aspiring singer from Gilbert, Arizona. While sharing her story with judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie, McKenna revealed she was adopted as a baby. Though she has known this for as long as she can remember, she felt a pull to find her birth parents when she was 21 years old.
She asked here adoptive parents about her birth mom. It turns out, her mother was a musician named Amy Ross Lopez, but she had sadly passed away. McKenna found her birth mother’s siblings and mom and began a relationship with them over FaceTime. She also found out her entire birth family are singers.
McKenna revealed to Bryan, Perry, and Richie that she was going to meet her birth family three weeks after her audition. Or so she thought.
McKenna sat down behind the piano and sang “There Was Jesus” originally by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton, which Perry called “fitting.”
The incredible song hit No. 1 on the Christian Airplay chart, marking Parton’s first appearance at the top of that particular chart.
The judges were blown away by her talent. See their reactions below.
“You’ve got a great voice. It’s really signature and raspy, and interesting.” – Katy Perry
“You’re very in control of what you’re doing. You’re in control of being at the piano and you’re in control of singing. You got that figured out. I thought it was great.” – Luke Bryan
“I love exactly what you did. I love the sound of your voice. And I’m anxious to see what you’re gonna do with this.” – Lionel Richie
The birth family was listening to McKenna sing through the door and got visibly emotional. After receiving the very positive feedback, Perry asked if she wanted to bring her family in to be with her for the “final judgement,” but we really knew she was about to get her golden ticket to Hollywood.
McKenna walked to the door and told her parents to come in, and then she actually looked at the faces of the people closest to the door (her aunts, uncle, and grandmother). She immediately lost it and hugged her. birth grandmother for the very first time.
The judges were confused, but when McKenna told them these people were her birth family, it changed everything. Perry began crying, but that’s where the video ends.
We hope to see more of the reunion when American Idol premieres on Sunday, February 18th. Watch the emotional video below.