There have only been a few auditions that have left the American Idol judges speechless, and Douglas Mills Jr.'s performance was one of them.
During Sunday night's episode of the hit singing competition series, viewers were introduced to Mills, an 18-year-old from Houston, TX. Mills is the recipient of American Idol’s “golden ticket,” also known as the “VIP affiliate ticket pass” from ABC Houston, redeemable for a trip to the auditions.
In a heart wrenching moment before singing the infamous classic, "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday, Mills shared that he was bullied throughout his life and uses music to escape the negativity that constantly surrounds him.
1. Douglas Mills considers music his "safe place."
“Music is my life, basically,” Mills told the judges before his audition. “It’s my safe place from doubters and haters. And people who just don’t like me in general.”
Mills went on to share that when he was growing up, kids would call him mean names and downplay his talents, which he said was “very painful.”
“When I was younger, I was bullied because I look different,” he explained. “Still today, it’s hard for me to love myself. But music has helped me out. When I’m singing, I don’t care what no one says. Music can heal and helps you love yourself for who you are.”
2. Douglas Mills wows the judges with his audition.
For his audition, Mills performed “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday. He explained that the song was “especially chosen for the Black community, because they have gone through so much pain over the past few centuries,” adding, “It’s time to bring awareness to it.”
Mills’ rendition of the harrowing song left the judges speechless, with all three of them giving him a standing ovation.
“I blanked out. Passed out. Woke up. Young man, that was superb,” Lionel Richie expressed. “You’re a superstar,” Katy Perry explained, when the youngster admitted he didn’t think he was up to Idol standards. “You transcend time and space. You froze the room. That was iconic,” she added.
3. Luke Bryan went on to share that Mills had “hypnotized” the trio.
He noted that the Houston native “took us on a journey. You controlled every second of that.” He then added, “I’m speechless about it.”
After giving Mills a unanimous “yes,” the judges gave the emotional teen a group hug.
Cue the tears.