Like many American Idol contestants, Sam Finelli has always had a special connection to music.
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For Sam, this connection helped him get through the various difficulties he faced as a child growing up with autism. Plus, it also plays an important role in how he connects with others.
“I don’t connect with people very well,” Sam said. “It’s just a small part of who I am. It’s not all of who I am. It was lonely growing up, but music was my best friend.”
Despite his stage fright, Sam loves to sing karaoke all around his hometown of Peachtree Corners, Georgia. Still, auditioning for American Idol was no small feat. He’s thought about trying out for years, but it wasn’t until he started getting close to the cut-off age for the show that he finally found the courage he needed.
Another way he found strength was through his mom, Suzie, who is one of Sam’s biggest supporters. In fact, she was invited to join her son in the audition room once the judges were ready to give their final verdict.
But before that could happen, Sam had to perform. When his big moment arrived, all three celebrity judges – Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie – were eager to hear what he had prepared for them: “Rainbow” by Kacey Musgraves. This hit song is all about encouraging those who are going through a difficult time.
As Sam beautifully belted out the lyrics “You hold tight to your umbrella; well, darling, I’m just trying to tell you that there’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head,” Perry couldn’t help but shed a few tears.
As soon as Sam sang the final note, all three judges gave him a much-deserved standing ovation, quickly prompting lots of tears of joy from Sam.
“I want you to know right now, we are so proud of you,” Richie said. “Sam, you were born enough and what we consider your handicap is your gift. You understand me? You are enough.”
Watch Sam’s moving performance below and don’t forget to share.
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