American Idol / YouTube
21-year-old Preston Duffee did something that is pretty rare for American Idol, he auditioned with an original song. In the pre-taped package, Duffee revealed that he lost his mom to suicide two years ago.
“She just struggled with bipolar and depression, and over time it got harder and harder for her to hide it from us,” he revealed.
Duffee then spoke about the day his mother died.
“That day, we all went to church. We had a cookout after that at the house. All of our friends came. Mom was in a great mood. But as people started trickling out, her mood started to change,” he recalled, sharing the unfortunate story of his mother’s passing. “As I was getting ready for bed, I heard a gunshot. I didn’t know what it was at the time. But then my sister went into her room, and that’s where she found mama.”
Not only did he and his sister lose their mom, they also lost their home, since their mom’s job paid all the bills.
“We were basically homeless for three months,” he recalls before saying,”Music quite literally saved my life. Not only to cope, but to eat, to put food on the table.”
He dove into his original song in front of the judges, who gave their condolences about his mom. Duffee revealed he’d be performing the first song he ever wrote.
Some of the lyrics include:
“Then he told me son all you need to do / Is think of all that I’ve done for you / And how everything that you’ve been through / Has made you into the man you are now,” Duffee sang. “And it dawned on me that he was right / God, I wish that I could see things through your eyes / When I’m looking ‘round / Yeah, maybe all the hard times are something to write about.”
He also had a cute Luke Bryan reference, which got big smiles from all the judges. Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan were all in agreement that the future is bright for Duffee and that if he can write 40 more songs just like that, his songwriting career will be long and fruitful. Bryan did, however, warn him about the powerful country voices already in the competition.
But, even though they thought his vocals could use a little improvement, they all voted him through to the next round!
Watch Preston Duffee emotional American Idol audition below.