Alabama woman wows ‘American Idol’ judges with audition

Montgomery native and Tuskegee resident Kezia “Lady K” Istonia auditions for 'American Idol'...
Montgomery native and Tuskegee resident Kezia “Lady K” Istonia auditions for 'American Idol' judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.(Eric McCandless | Source: ABC)
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 11:23 AM CST
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TUSKEGEE, Ala. (WSFA) - An Alabama woman stepped onto the stage and proceeded to blow away all three judges during Sunday night’s airing of “American Idol” on ABC, and she did it with one of the judges’ own songs!

Kezia “Lady K” Istonia, 25, originally from Montgomery, handed judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan each an envelope and said they could not open them “until you send me to Hollywood or Hollyhood, either one.”

She then brought smiles to Richie’s face when he discovered she currently lives in his native Tuskegee.

“I feel like I’ve known you my whole life,” she said as he jumped up to hug her.

“I know you have,” he joked, “because there’s only five people in Tuskegee.”

After her introduction, Lady K went about singing her chosen song, “Wide Awake,” which Perry took to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 2012.

“Oh my God, I can’t believe that that just happened,” Lady K said as she finished performing, wiping away tears as the judges took note of what they’d just heard.

“I just want to say, ‘How dare you?’” Perry quipped before heaping praise and adding that “it’s like you reinvented the song.”

Lady K revealed Perry’s songs had been her inspiration, “for the underdogs, for people like me.”

The Tuskegee resident’s performance, which Bryan called “tremendous and so honest,” comes from her own pain being raised by a single mother and losing her brother to suicide.

“Tuskegee will never be the same,” Richie said before all the judges voted yes to giving Lady K her golden ticket to the Hollywood round, a moment she said means her brother is not gone in vain and that he’s proud of her.

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