From the moment a little girl threw a coin into a fountain to wish her mom success on “American Idol,” viewers probably sensed they were in for a tear-jerker on Sunday. (Watch the video below.)
The talent show did not disappoint. The audition of Fire Wilmore, a 22-year-old exotic dancer looking to change her life through her voice, wobbled on an emotional roller coaster.
Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie babysat nearly 4-year-old Maja while Wilmore filled in the blanks of her life: her own mom’s drug problems that led to Wilmore being placed in state custody. How Wilmore wound up being “pregnant and alone” at age 18. And now with a goal: “I need to get away from dancing. I need to do this for my daughter.”
Wilmore sang Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon” and it was pretty good. But it wasn’t great and the panelists delicately told her so. Perry even coached her a bit. The gentle criticism and encouragement could not stop Wilmore’s tears, however.
In an embarrassing moment, Maja grabbed a Golden Ticket, which is given to contestants as a pass into the next round, and handed it to her mom. “I think I found this,” the little girl said.
“Put it back,” Wilmore told her daughter. “Go put it back.”
Perry offered Wilmore a second chance at a later audition in Nashville. Wilmore accepted.
“I don’t want it,” Wilmore said of her aspirations. “I need it.”
So perhaps things are already looking up for Wilmore before her next audition on “American Idol.”