Lionel Richie Calls Max Dasher The Country Music James Dean In “American Idol” Audition

Max Dasher American Idol

When Max Dasher walked into his American Idol audition, he felt “crazy” about trying to “live the dream.” But Lionel Richie and his fellow judges quickly assured Max that his dreams of stardom were not crazy at all.

The 18-year-old from Black Mountain, NC, strutted onto the floor with a sort of “magic” to him and performed the Southern classic Rock, Salt & Nails by Utah Phillips. He gave the song so much energy, charm, and twang that Katy Perry gave him a standing ovation.

“You have that sparkle. It’s the stuff,” she praised. “You have undeniable authenticity. It’s like a gold rush.”

While he was impressed with the audition, Luke Bryan, wasn’t as quick to gush. Instead, he saw a little of himself in the young country crooner. And he wanted to hand out some pointers for next time.

Luke stood up and showed Max how to walk into a room with a cooler demeanor. Then he told him that he’d have to tone it down a little if he wanted to win this season’s crown.

“What I love about you is you just did your audition exactly the way I would have. Freaking out and playing the guitar like you were trying to break a string,” he laughed. “If we can get you to breathe and calm down, and understand that you’re pretty damn cool, man, you’ve got a little bit of magic to you.”


Lionel Richie agreed that Max needed some work. But he couldn’t get over his powerful stage presence. He believed that Max could be the whole package with a little finesse.

“Your mantra should be, ‘I’m 18 and I look like James Dean.’ You’re going to have to bump up your vocals, but remember, your attitude comes with it.”

Despite not being perfect, all three judges gave a clear and confident, “yes,” and sent Max to Hollywood.

Tune in to American Idol and follow Max every Sunday at 8 PM ET on ABC.

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