“Idol” Shares Sneak Peek Of New Season With Singer’s Cover Of Dolly Parton’s “There Was Jesus”
(Left) American Idol / YouTube / (Right) Dolly Parton / Facebook
American Idol Releases First Full Audition From Season 21
American Idol just shared a sneak peek of its new season by sharing its first full audition video. The video showcases 25-year-old McKenna Breinholt from Gilbert, Arizona.
Before singing, McKenna shared her story with the judges. She was adopted by her parents as a baby. They were always open with her about the fact she was adopted.
At age 21, McKenna asked her parents to tell her more about her birth mom. That’s when she learned that her birth mother was a musician named Amy Ross Lopez. Sadly, Amy passed away before McKenna got to meet her.
McKenna eventually connected with other members of her birth family. As it turns out, all of them are musical too.
But at the time of her Idol audition, McKenna had not met her birth family in person yet. She planned to meet them a few weeks later.
The Story Behind Dolly Parton’s Song With Zach Williams, “There Was Jesus”
McKenna told the judges she wanted to perform “There Was Jesus” by Christian artist Zach Williams and country music icon Dolly Parton. Judge Katy Perry remarked how that was a “fitting” choice.
“There Was Jesus” was released in October 2019. Zach Williams co-wrote the song with Casey Beathard and Jonathan Smith. According to a press release, Zach knew right away he wanted Dolly to sing with him.
They sent the song to Dolly, and she loved it. She met Zach to record their duet in the studio soon after.
“It was a really cool moment, just to have the privilege to record a song with Dolly Parton,” Zach said. “Working with Dolly was a true honor. She has a way of making you feel like you are the only person in the room.”
“There Was Jesus” reached the #1 spot on the U.S. Christian Airplay chart following its release. It was Dolly’s first time earning a #1 song on the Christian chart.
The song later won the award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song at the 63rd Grammy Awards. Additionally, “There Was Jesus” has since been certified Platinum by the RIAA.
Idol Shares Sneak Peek Of New Season With An Emotional Surprise At The End
McKenna Breinholt sat at the piano while she performed “There Was Jesus” on American Idol. The judges appeared moved by her tender voice and emotional delivery.
But McKenna had no idea what, or rather, who, was waiting for her outside of the audition room. Her parents invited her birth family to the audition so they could meet her for the first time!
After McKenna finished singing, the judges shared how much they loved her voice. She received some nice compliments from Luke Bryan, who said:
“You’re very in control of what you’re doing. You’re in control of being at the piano, and you’re in control of singing, you’ve got that figured out. I thought it was great.”
Katy asked if McKenna would like to bring her family in to hear the final verdict. She opened the door to call her family inside, and was shocked to see several members of her birth family standing there.
You can see McKenna’s emotional reaction to the surprise by watching the sneak peek of her Idol audition below. The new season kicks off on Sunday, February 18 on ABC.