Growing up, Kelsie Dolin’s grandmother always encouraged her to try new things, oftentimes pushing her out of her comfort zone.
The two of them were especially close since it was their grandparents who raised Kelsie and her sister rather than their parents. That’s why it was all the more devastating when her grandmother passed away from COVID complications in 2021.
One way that her grandmother tried to push her out of her comfort zone was by encouraging her to sing more, especially in public. Kelsie gave it a shot, but it didn’t turn out like she’d hoped.
“I tried to sing in church one time,” she said. “The music started playing and I just froze.”
Still, not long after her grandma passed, Kelsie couldn’t help but notice the unusual number of American Idol ads she’d come across that were made to get people to audition. Finally, it reached a point where she took it as sign from her grandmother for her to take another chance on singing.
Taking this leap was no small feat for this shy, down-to-earth 18-year-old. As someone who grew up in Boone County, West Virginia and had never been on a plane before, just getting to the audition would mean experiencing a lot of firsts.
But once her plane ride was over, it was time for her to step out of her comfort zone in a major way: Not only was she about to perform for the first time ever, but she was about to do so in front of judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.
Kelsie chose to sing “Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson, a fitting song since it comes from the first-ever winner of American Idol.
The judges were impressed by her vocals, but they could tell that Kelsie’s nerves were holding her back. After much encouragement, they asked if she could sing the second song she had prepared: “When We Were Young” by Adele.
At first, Kelsie’s confidence remained about the same. But as Perry shouted out instructions to hype her up and bring her out of her shell, something magical happened.
As she reached the chorus, Kelsie found the strength to belt out the lyrics, bringing tears to Richie’s eyes.
“This is the only person that’s just walked in here and messed me up completely,” Richie said with a smile.
All three judges were so proud of Kelsie for her stellar first performance, that they couldn’t help but say the magic words “You are going to Hollywood!”
We can’t wait to see where Kelsie’s singing career takes her!
Watch her moving performance below and don’t forget to share.
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