Oliver Steele’s Emotional End to American Idol Season 21 Auditions
American Idol Season 21 wrapped up auditions with a bang. The episode was emotional and impactful with several talented singers. The season’s talent is ramping up, and it should make for a fun Hollywood round next week.
The last of the night and of all the auditions was a true standout who could possibly be a front runner. This singer’s name was Oliver Steele, and his emotional story about his dad is bound to leave a lasting mark on viewers.
“He is the reason I want to do this”
The judges informed Oliver he was the last auditioner with excitement. Oliver is a 25-year-old from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee which he notes is the home of Charlie Daniels. He goes into an emotional story about his dad who inspired him to be a musician. Oliver’s dad, Toby, was a professional guitarist who toured with famous musicians. The show doesn’t mention this, but one of those famed singers he opened for was B.B. King. His dad sadly had a stroke, that severely affected his left side. Oliver says he felt, “powerless” and goes on to say, “he is the reason I want to do this.”
For his first song, he sings The Beatles, “In My Life” with a slight bluesy and soulful twist. His sound reminds me of John Mayer and James Morrison. A voiceover of his dad telling Oliver how he is “elated,” and proud of him “carrying on the legacy of this family” plays over the performance. The song ends with a few tasteful vocal licks. Oliver is also an excellent guitar player.
The judges give him a standing ovation. Luke Bryan calls it an “experience.” Katy Perry notes his nerves, saying he threw it away a bit at the end, but says he has a “milky voice” and needs to “stay milking it.” Lionel Richie likes his growl and skills, and asks Oliver to bring his dad in, saying, “we pray our kids say that to us” about Oliver feeling inspired by his dad.
“If I had it my way he’d be playing for me”
Oliver and his dad share an emotional moment, with Oliver saying, “if I had it my way, he’d be playing for me.” Next, he sings Eric Clapton’s “Change The World,” which is one of his dad’s favorite songs. His dad says Oliver had a conversation with him, and he said, “you know dad, you don’t have to worry about singing because I’ll do it for you.” Oliver shows his true skill in this song as the effort is even more polished. His growls and runs are seasoned and gave me chills. The judges are super impressed and even join in, singing with him at his dad’s suggestion. Oliver is truly a ringer, who may go very far, as the second song displayed more range and technique. His growls are very pleasing to the ears.
Lionel says, “Daddy whatever you did, you don’t have to do it ever again; you can pass it all to that boy right there.” The judges join Oliver and his dad in a heartwarming moment, giving him 3 yeses to Hollywood. Katy notes he could win the competition, and Lionel agrees. She says he sang “twice as good when he sang to his father.” Oliver’s dad is certain his son will do great things as the audition wraps up, and they share a moment together.
This audition was a true standout, but it wasn’t the only one of the night, as Kaeyra gave what was possibly my favorite vocal of the season with her soulful rendition of “Cold” by Chris Stapleton, featuring popstar chops. The honorable mentions of the night go to soulful folk singer Mikenley Brown who was accompanied by her dad and platinum ticket winner Cam Amen who sang a rendition of “Hallelujah.”