Mariah Faith comes from a small town, but she’s on her way to LaLa Land and it won’t be as a tourist.
The 21-year-old hairstylist stepped onto the American Idol stage on Sunday night (March 19), for an audition that couldn’t have gone any better.
Born in Baltimore, Faith relocated at a young age to Conway, South Carolina, a town so small, she claims you could traverse it on foot in ten minutes.
The relocation was at the behest of her late step-dad, Faith’s inspiration, her “No. 1 supporter and best friend,” she explained in the intro. He died from a heart attack in 2019, leaving a hole in the family.
When Faith entered the lion’s den that is an Idol audition, she carried the spirit of her step-dad, to whom she dedicated a rendition of Vince Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around.”
Wearing blonde dreads and a nose-ring, Faith looked and sounded at ease. Her performance, grounded, earthy and pretty special, the judges agreed.
“I had chills the whole time. You are on just the edge of greatness,” noted judge Luke Bryan. “You’ve just got it all. It doesn’t matter if you hit a wrong note, it’s still right.”
It was more of the same from Katy Perry. “World class,” she piped up. “There’s so many subtleties in your voice. I’m hanging onto every syllable.” Perry added, “You have this natural cry-slash-gospel vocal,” at which point the contestant remarked, I was “raised in the church.”
Perry spotted it. “Well, we can hear it. You are a star,” she enthused. “You’ve got it. One of the most interesting voices” of this 21st season.
Lionel Richie was singing from the same hymn sheet. “What we just heard is the tip of the iceberg, but your potential could take you seriously all the way,” he stated.
When the judges cast their votes, it was three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood. Faith also landed the opportunity to open a Nashville concert for last season’s respective Idol winner and runner-up, Noah Thompson and HunterGirl.