American Idol shied away from shaming contestants when it made the transition from Fox to ABC, and instead focused more on helping competitors succeed in rather surprising ways. Fans have already seen this happen once in Season 18 with Doug Kiker, who wowed the judges with his audition after warming up in front of bystanders. The latest round of auditions featured another similarly heartwarming moment, when an Idol hopeful who wasn't even supposed to audition that day ended up getting sent to Hollywood.
Courtney Timmons didn't expect to be seen by American Idol's cameras, but she was determined to take a shot. Having missed the deadline to audition, the young security guard was posted up outside the building hoping that open calls would be taken that day. Though that wasn't exactly the case, she ended up running into someone overtly familiar to any potential Idol contestant, host Ryan Seacrest, and after a brief conversation, Seacrest took Timmons up to take a shot at auditioning in front of the judges, which is pretty unheard of. Take a look below!
For someone who had no idea whether or not she'd see the judges that day, Courtney Timmons came prepared! She performed a moving version of Andra Day's "Rise Up," which is always a great way to showcase one's vocal range. (Though it's also a song that highlights weaker singers if they can't hit the range required for the song.) Timmons passed with flying colors, and even managed to get Katy Perry (who is all recovered from that gas leak) and Ryan Seacrest to shed some tears.
The moment had to be emotionally overwhelming for Ryan Seacrest, who usually doesn't have much consequential input in the competition. Here, though, he basically used his cachet to advance someone that was originally turned away for not adhering to the standard methods of application. Typically, contestants fill out applications and have to sing in front of a preliminary panel who then decides which contestants will go on to appear in front of the celebrity judges to be filmed for American Idol. This is why the situation was so surprising to the judges, and presumably why Seacrest added they had "no idea what she sounds like."
Courtney Timmons left a phenomenal first impression on the judges, and it looks like she may be someone to watch closely as American Idol Season 18 continues. As far on what's on the internet, she apparently isn't a clandestine indie-label singer sent by an agent to get "discovered," just in case anyone was suspicious. As Lionel Richie said, she can "sang," and the few videos on her limited YouTube account are evidence enough she's not a one-trick pony.
Check out Timmons' take on Ariana Grande below.
It originally seemed like topping Season 17 in terms of talent was going to be a tall order for American Idol, but Season 18 has continued to impress thus far. Just when it seems like there's one clear standout favorite this season, another person pops on the scene and it feels like anyone's competition all over again. And we're still just in the auditions! Hopefully, this energy continues going strong until the finale, because things are off to a very strong start.
American Idol airs on ABC Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend for more on the competition as it progresses, and for the latest news happening in television and movies.