The Ultimate Full Circle Moment as McKayla Stacey “Returns” to American Idol
When Phil Stacey auditioned for the American Idol 2007 season, his wife Kendra went into labor the morning he was set to sing in front of the judges. It was a hard decision, but that audition changed Phil’s life completely. He finished the show in the Top 6 and went on to a career in music.
The Memphis Auditions episode in which Phil was featured ended with a clip of him making it to the hospital after his audition and meeting his daughter McKayla for the first time. Heartwarming!
Fast forward to 2023, and that little baby is now 16 years old and auditioning for American Idol herself. Her audition aired Sunday night (Read our Recap)
It seems like only yesterday when I was backstage in the summer of 2007 at the American Idol Live! tour in Manchester, NH meeting the Top 10. Phil had his family with him, and I took a photo of Phil holding cute little McKayla in his arms.
We met Baby McKayla Backstage at American Idol Live in 2007
At the time, Phil was still enlisted in the US Navy, and would be going right back to work after the tour ended. He had fronted the Navy rock band before American Idol.
While McKayla’s audition was a full circle moment for the show, it was also a full circle moment for the website. We’ve been around since 2005, in case you were wondering. Time really does fly.
As far as the 16 year old McKayla is concerned, In her video clip, she noted that it’s her second time on American Idol. “I was actually born into American Idol,” she says. “It’s always been special to have that film of him meeting me.” From a young age McKayla understood the impact the show had on their family. “I remember feeling so cool going on youtube searching out my dad’s audition and watching it and being able to see that.”
Paula Abdul Makes a Surprise Appearance
Ryan mentions that Paula Abdul was especially supportive of Phil during his run. As such, she makes a surprise appearance via video. “When your dad auditioned,” said Paula to McKayla, “It was incredible for us to hear that you’re missing the birth of your daughter. But you know what, full circle! I cannot wait to hear you sing.”
After McKayla performed “She Used to Be Mine” with her dad accompanying her on piano, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan noted her youth and inexperience. Ultimately, Katy and Lionel said yes, while Luke thought she needed more experience and said no. Two yeses was enough to send the next generation to Hollywood.
But even that split decision has a direct parallel to dad. After Phil performed “My Girl” and “Let’s Get it On for the judges back then, a little fight ensued. Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson said yes, while Simon Cowell said no.