Local 'American Idol' contestant shares audition experience

Local “American Idol” contestant Elijah McCormick shared his experience after his singing audition on the TV show.

Elijah’s “American Idol” audition aired on ABC on March 5.

His emotional performance of the song “Bless the Broken Road” brought celebrity judge Lionel Richie to tears. The song has special meaning to the former Moore County resident and current Sandhills Community College student.

“I’ve sung it countless times, but its really put into perspective with my story,” said Elijah. Elijah told his story on “American Idol” about his vehicle accident near Pinebluff hours after graduating from Pinecrest High School, which nearly cost him his life. You can read an earlier article about Elijah here.

“That song has a different meaning, and I can relate to it. That’s one reason why I like country music; it tells a story,” said Elijah, who now lives in Raeford.

Elijah has performed in many different venues and events, but it took him a while to get used to all the cameras around on the set of “American Idol.”

When going before the judges, he felt confident until the doors opened, and he saw Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan sitting there. “It just hit me, but when the piano began to play for those few moments, I was back in my element,” said Elijah.

After the performance, the judges were taken aback by Elijah’s story and performance, and he received hugs and high-fives from three music legends.

“Being compared to Willie Spence was a big comparison,” said Elijah. Spence was a contestant a few years ago who passed away in a vehicle accident.

“Just buckle up and enjoy the ride is what Lionel Richie told me. It feels great,” said Elijah.

Elijah watched the airing of the audition episode with his family.

“It was surreal, and everyone was crying,” said Elijah. “I am very grateful, but I begin to think now that people are going to see me as an artist and a public figure.”

Since being home on a break while prerecorded episodes air, wherever Elijah goes, he’s recognized. He has been invited to sing at many different churches, signed napkins in restaurants, taken pictures, and gets recognized at his job at Family Eye Care of the Carolinas in Aberdeen.

“The love and support all around motivates me and feels wonderful,” the singer said.

Elijah and his mom went to Nashville for five days for the auditions.

“When they say it is the music city, it really is the music city,” Elijah said. “There was music playing from everywhere downtown. Windows and doors were open, and you could just hear all the music. Everyone was so nice, and it was so beautiful.”

“There is a lot of good competition and talented singers,” he said. “Most of us don’t really view it as a competition. It feels like music camp. We support one another.”

Elijah has made some friends he connected with on a spiritual level. Contestants Lucy Love, Marybeth Byrd, Megan Danielle, Matt Wilson, and Iam Tongi to name a few.

“I always seem to connect with people on a spiritual level,” he added. “Tongi will always have his guitar and will come sit next to me and just start playing, and we’ll sing. It really is like music camp, everyone connects with others.”

Not only did Elijah win the Golden Ticket to Hollywood from the judges, but he was also the winner of the first American Platinum Ticket. He received the most votes than two other contestants during the American Music Awards. The viewers will have to see what that means for Elijah in upcoming episodes.

Receiving the Golden Ticket means Elijah will make it through to Hollywood week which will air in a few weeks after the auditions are completed.

No matter what the outcome of the show is, he still plans to follow his passion and dream and seal a career in singing inspirational/R&B music.

“I didn’t think it was possible, but this experience has made me fall in love with music even more,” said Elijah.

To watch a clip of Elijah on “American Idol,” please click here.

Feature photo: “American Idol” contestant Elijah McCormick. Photo courtesy of “American Idol.”

Sandhills_Sentinel~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Curtis Self. Contact him at [email protected].

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