16-year-old cheerleader Cameron McGhar aimed to impress the American Idol judges with her performance of Little Big Town‘s “Girl Crush.” But the country-singing cheerleader didn’t make a stellar first impression on Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan.
Even Idol itself described McGhar’s audition as “rocky” in the description accompanying the video of her performance on YouTube.
After she finished singing “Girl Crush,” Bryan tried to share some positive comments. But he made it clear he wasn’t a fan of what he just hear.
“You’ve got a big voice, you’ve got a voice, you’re singing on pitch,” he said. “But it’s just not, it’s not flowing out and it’s not natural.”
Richie agreed with him, saying, “It’s not comfortable.”
Perry also chimed in, saying McGhar’s performance was “Not believable at all.”
The judges felt her cover of “Girl Crush” lacked any sense of spunk. So when she offered to sing another song, the judges gave her a second chance…but encouraged her to “just shake it out a little bit” and relax.
McGhar’s second song was Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).” Although she let loose and let a little more of her personality come out, the judges still seemed skeptical when she finished singing.
Perry pointed out how McGhar was only able to truly perform when the judges coaxed her into it. “So help me God, if you go forward we won’t be able to do this type of thing again,” Perry said.
While Perry debated on how she was going to vote, Richie spoke up. “In my heart of hearts I don’t think you’re quite ready,” he said before voting “no.”
After promising to work hard and prove herself, McGhar got both Perry and Bryan to vote “yes.” Neither of the two judges felt entirely comfortable with their votes, but decided to “roll the dice” on the young singer.
McGhar was given a golden ticket, giving her the chance to sing for the judges in Hollywood. Watch her audition below to see how she managed to get to that point.