The contestant revealed that although he was born in the United States, his father sent him, his brothers, and his mother to Africa, where they were abandoned on the streets of Nigeria and left begging for food, digging through trash for scraps, and drinking water collected in potholes.
Peter explained that knowing he was a U.S. citizen gave him hope that his life would “change someday,” and now back in America working as a street musician in California, he seemed ready for it to change even more through “Idol.” “It’s been a long time coming,” he told the judges. “I’m so grateful just to be in front of you.” Peter went on to channel the emotions from his troubled past into his poignant original song, captivating the panel as he sang.
Lopez told him afterward, “First, I could hear how beautiful your voice was, and I could also hear the pain of what you were writing about. I really liked it, and I really like you.” The superstar went on, “You have something really special about you — your heart, your struggle. It really comes through.” Urban, too, was impressed by the performance, but worried that it wasn’t a fit for the FOX competition. “I’m not sure what you do is compatible with what’s needed on ‘Idol,’ he told Peter before adding, “Beautiful voice, really original, beautiful heart — for those reasons alone, I’m going to say yes.”
Connick called Peter “talented,” and thought the way he sang certain notes and lyrics was “very smart, very well done.” With Lopez and Urban already saying yes to send the singer to Hollywood, Connick’s vote technically did not matter, but he told Peter it was a unanimous decision. After the grateful aspiring star left the audition room, Connick further declared, “That’s a soulful cat, man.” Check out the video below, and tell us what you think!