American Idol‘s first night of Hollywood Week kicked off Sunday night, where 100 hopefuls who were selected throughout the show’s nationwide auditions once again took center stage to show that they have what it takes to be a contender.
While there were a lot of frayed nerves and heightened emotions among those looking to prove their talent, the judges were feeling some of that tension too — especially with Katy Perry apparently suffering from a head cold.
As she sneezed and sniffled through the processes, Perry started to come up with creative solutions for her nose issues — including stuffing tissue paper into her nostrils and changing her voice.
However, it didn’t change her natural singing abilities. With her nose jammed with paper, fellow judge Luke Bryan teasingly challenged her to sing her hit song “Firework” like that, and to everyone’s surprise she belted out the chorus almost flawlessly.
Perry couldn’t, however, keep her nose from running when she was brought to tears by Dimitrius Graham, a 27-year-old singer who told Perry, Bryan and Lionel Richie that he’d just found out, moments before he was supposed to perform, that his ailing mom was scheduled to have surgery the next day, and he wouldn’t be able to be by her side.
So, Graham called his mom on FaceTime and asked if the judges would say hi, and let her watch him perform.
“Hi, mama,” Perry said, as Bryan and Richie crowded around next to her. “Lorraine, we believe with you for tomorrow that you’ll be safe and protected, and the angels are around you. Speaking of an angel, your son is about to sing for us and we want you to be a part of this moment.”
As Graham belted out a powerful rendition of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings,” Perry could hardly raise her head, opting instead to openly weep into one hand as she held the phone with the other.
“Your boy did it, sweetheart,” Richie proudly told Graham’s mom after his performance. “Your boy did it.”
However, not every wild moment from Sunday’s new Idol saw Perry getting choked up. In the case of Alejandro Aranda’s guitar-aided cover of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Perry and Bryan were so wowed by the performance that they simply had to pull off their jackets and hurl them onto stage, leading Richie to follow suit.
While Aranda was clearly confused at first about what being pelted by jackets meant in terms of judge feedback, they made it clear that it was a positive gesture.
Perry’s antics on American Idolhave become one of the hallmarks of the revived show, including her wild humor, striking outfits and flirtatious banter with contestants.
Check out the video below for a look at Perry’s time as a judge on the second season of ABC’s American Idol reboot.
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.