Singing
Homeless teen runs out on audition after Lionel Richie gets emotional
This is what it really looks like when a star is born. Everything about this video is so touching.
Jessica Adler
09.23.21

Ronda Felton took the stage in front of American Idol judges to sing from her soul.

When judges asked for her backstory, though, she couldn’t hold back the tears. Singing is Ronda’s way of coping with her circumstances, which have been rough, to say the least.

Her family consists of her mom and herself, and they’re all the other had to see them through homelessness, poverty, and constantly searching for a safe place to sleep.

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie were visibly moved hearing Ronda’s life story.

Felton is nineteen. She’s originally from Milwaukee but lives in Arizona. Ronda’s had quite a journey and she’s only getting started.

It was music that helped her and her mom deal with life. Their favorite song together is “Zoom” by The Commodores.

“I feel so blessed to be here with all of you. It means the world to me.”

Felton exclaimed ahead of her performance as Lionel handed her his black handkerchief.

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

When it was time to announce her audition song, Ronda chose ‘One Night Only’ from Dream Girls.

The 19-year-old Ronda unleashed her vocal abilities to a single piano. Standing on that Idol logo, she knew this was her opportunity. And wow did she sing.

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

Ronda’s singing was so heartfelt, Lionel was wiping tears from his eyes.

Elijah Allen commented,

“I went to school with Ronda, I’ve seen her sing live, she deserves this.”

Let’s take his word for it.

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

There’s a visible silence in the room, not just because of Ronda’s singing, but brought about by her life story.

Respect and awe overflowed from the judges as Ronda sang with her soul.

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

Lionel spoke first after her audition,

“I was doing really well until you came in and did something that no one has done tonight, which is touch me to the point of making me cry,”

he said.

“Every once and a while, life happens and then you figure, how do I get out of this situation? And God provides a crack in the wall. Just a crack, because every other crack has been there forever. But that crack is just enough for you to get through. And my dear, you just found that crack. Because that was the moment that will change your life.”

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

And then Katy chimed in,

“You don’t have to be strong. You just gotta’ be Ronda. And that will take you all the way.”

Luke had this to say,

“That was a great performance, but I have a big old feeling it’s not your best performance to come.”

Ronda got all three to say YES.

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

She was so happy that she ran out to grab her mom.

Ronda and mom stood in front of the judges and how did they celebrate? With a song. Their favorite song! Even Lionel and the other judges joined in the singing!

American Idol - YouTube Screenshot
Source:
American Idol - YouTube Screenshot

Ronda’s journey stands to prove that, regardless of circumstance, there is always a reason to have hope. She’s proof-positive that our past is not our whole story and opportunity can come for us all, if only we agree to it.

See the audition that brought Lionel to tears in the video clip below!

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By Jessica Adler
hi@sbly.com
Jessica Adler is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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