Trans singer Amari blows American Idol judges away with her amazing story and powerful voice

Transgender American Idol auditionee Amari has won the hearts of viewers around the world after a show-stopping performance on the hit series.

As most people know by now (given we’re on season 22!), the long-running American singing competition sees a panel of judges critique a contestant’s performance and, if they like what they hear, they send the hopeful singer to Hollywood. 

Amari is an energetic, bubbly 28-year-old transgender woman from Richmond, Indiana who works as a waitress, and the judges certainly liked what they heard from her in the latest episode of the show.

Star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie watched in awe as Amari sang a stripped-back, acoustic cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” that showed off her impressive vocal range, as well as an unexpected horn improvisation where she imitated a trumpet with her voice. 

“You’re so full of light and joy,” Perry told the smiley singer.

Though she loved the performance, Perry said she wanted to hear more from Amari and asked the singer what song encapsulated her journey of finding her true self.

Amari picked Sara Bareilles’s heartbreaking ballad “She Used to Be Mine”, a song written for Bareilles’s musical Waitress

Amari then revealed to the judges that she’s transgender and reflected that during her transition she lost a lot of people in her life. 

“It’s normal to lose a lot of people,” Amari explained. “I’m not mad at them. I understand. I don’t expect people to understand everything, I just want to love everybody.”

“So many people would’ve been really happy if I just stayed in my little box… and sometimes I miss that person,” she shared.

Did trans singer Amari go to Hollywood?

Amari’s emotional rendition of the fragile but commanding song will have your hair standing on end.

Katy Perry was tearful from the opening notes and gave Amari a standing ovation. 

“You got swallowed up a bit by the big high notes… but that was a really powerful thing to watch you do,” Luke Bryan said. The judge then said no to Amari’s audition.

However, both Lionel Richie and Katy Perry saw the transgender star’s talent and sent Amari to Hollywood. We’ll be eagerly watching as Amari makes it to the next stage of American Idol

In an interview with CT Insider, Amari revealed she started singing at the age of 11.

“I was homeless at the time. My mom and I were just struggling,” she shared, noting that her casual singing was complimented by a passer-by. 

“They were like, ‘You have a voice. You can make big bucks with that,’” she recalled the passer-by telling her. 

That encouragement was key to Amari finding her voice: “I kind of latched on to that first, and it became a way of coping and emoting, and it became something more than just financial stability.”