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Lionel Richie sheds tears during emotional American Idol audition

Katy Perry and Luke Bryan are also judging the 21st season

lionel richie emotional
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
6 March 2023
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Lionel Richie is usually one of the more stoic judges on American Idol compared to his fellow panelists Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

However, the "All Night Long" singer couldn't help but shed a few tears after learning of a harrowing moment during an American Idol audition by Elijah Mccormick, check it out in the video below.

WATCH: American Idol moment that leaves Lionel Richie in tears

Emotional moments have made the show even more memorable over the years, with one featuring Katy in the previous episode that left several viewers shaken.

The last installment's final audition was from Trey Lewis from Santa Fe, Texas, and Luke asked Trey why he wanted to audition for the show, he revealed that he'd been one of those affected by the 2018 Santa Fe school shooting, motivating him to inspire others.

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The incident, taking place May 18, 2018, resulted in the deaths of eight students and two teachers after a 17-year-old student at the school began firing a gun into art rooms, one of which was Trey's.

This confession left Katy the most heartbroken, immediately burying her face as she broke down crying, then delivering a rare emotional outburst.

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Trey Lewis' audition was one that deeply affected Katy

"Our country has [expletive] failed us," she stated, silencing the others around her. "This is not okay. You should be singing here because you love music.

"You didn't have to lose eight friends," she passionately continued, adding: "I hope that you remind people that we have to change, because you know what, I'm scared too!"

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The gravity of the moment was not lost on her fellow judges, with both Lionel and Luke comforting her as she wiped away the tears.

"This has gone on for too long," Lionel added, with Trey asserting that he would be able to lead for "my school, for myself, for you," which touched the "Roar" singer.

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The singer had an emotional outburst after Trey's audition

As the judges voted to send him through, all Katy could say was "thank you" and "yes," later sharing the video on social media with a link to Moms Demand Action, a foundation fighting to end gun violence in the nation through increased awareness.

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