A life-changing moment was recently aired on “American Idol,” and it moved Lionel Richie to tears — along with the rest of the world!
When 19-year-old Ronda Felton stepped into that audition room, it became immediately clear that she carried with her a depth far beyond her years. As the celebrity judges asked about her story, she was brought to silence, nearly in tears, before saying, “It’s definitely been hard, but you just keep on moving.”
Ronda eventually began telling her story, sharing that she grew up with her single mom under difficult circumstances. They spent most of her childhood homeless, moving from shelters to people’s couches and cars.
The teenager explained that she had hopped around to 12-15 schools before she even reached high school. But there were two through lines that anchored her in every season: her mom and music.
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“Music made me realize things that I could be, things I could achieve,” she added.
So with an embrace, her mom sent her off to that star-studded audition room with these words: “Don’t you ever stop fighting.”
After Ronda revealed a bit of what she has been through to the judges, Lionel Richie handed her his handkerchief. Drying her tears, she began to ready herself for her performance.
Singing “One Night Only” from the musical “Dreamgirls,” Ronda instantly rendered the room speechless.
A powerful belt paired with a gentle vibrato and smooth tone, her voice wowed the judges and even brought Richie to tears.
“Every once in a while, life happens and then you figure, how do I get out of this situation? And God provides a crack in the wall,” he told her. “Just a crack, just like every other crack has been there forever. But that crack is just enough for you to get through. And, my dear, you just found that crack. Because that was the moment that will change your life. It’s a ‘yes’ from me.”
With that, Ronda got her yeses from the remaining judges and immediately exclaimed, “Let me get my momma!”
Grabbing her mom by the hand, she ran back into the audition room with her favorite person by her side, and the judges shared the good news.
After an emotional hug between the mother and daughter, Katy Perry asked them for a celebratory song. At once, her mom had the perfect option in mind!
Confessing that her favorite song is “Zoom” by the Commodores, a flawless Richie hit, the former funk singer started in on the powerful lyrics: “I may be just a foolish dreamer but I don’t care, ’cause I know my happiness is waiting out there somewhere.”
Ronda’s mom then finished out the line in her own words: “And we’re searching for that silver lining.”
We think Ronda was spot-on when she said of “American Idol,” “We’ve been through a lot, and I feel like it’ll change our lives forever.”
With the strength and depth of character that she has already developed at the ripe age of 19, there is truly nothing she can’t conquer. Perry said it best: “You don’t have to be strong, you’ve just got to be Ronda. And that will take you all the way.”
Watch Ronda’s moving performance in the video below, and share her story with your friends and family.
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