Military Daughter’s Bonnie Raitt Cover Earns Standing Ovation From “Idol” Judges

Elleigh Marie auditions for Season 22 of American Idol

American Idol / YouTube

20-Year-Old Elleigh Marie Performs “I Can’t Make You Love Me” By Bonnie Raitt During American Idol Audition

One young American Idol hopeful aimed to secure a spot on the show with a cover of a song by music legend Bonnie Raitt.

20-year-old Elleigh Marie auditioned for the 22nd season of Idol with a performance of “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The song was written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin, and recorded by Raitt for her 1991 album Luck of the Draw.

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” reached the sixth spot on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also claimed the 18th spot on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Rolling Stone ranked the song at #372 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list released in 2021.


Earlier in the season, fans got the chance to hear another Idol hopeful perform “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” 19-year-old Meggie Iyer auditioned with the song and earned a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

Elleigh Marie Shares Her Story As A Military Kid

Before she started singing Raitt’s song, Elleigh shared her story with the Idol judges.

Elleigh’s father serves in the United States Air Force. She says growing up as a military kid “was pretty rough” for her since her dad would be away from home a lot.

Her mother was struggling with kidney and thyroid disease at one point while her dad was away. As the oldest of her siblings, “a lot of the responsibilities” fell on Elleigh.

On the day of her Idol audition, Elleigh had just learned that her dad was getting deployed for a year.It really sucks,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes.

Elleigh’s dad was there to support her at her audition, which meant a lot to the young singer.

Elleigh Marie auditioned for Season 22 of American Idol with a cover of "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt. Her dad, who is in the Air Force, supported her at her audition.
American Idol / YouTube

Idol Judges React To Elleigh’s Cover Of Bonnie Raitt’s Iconic Song

From there, Elleigh delivered a powerful rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The judges were clearly moved by her breathtaking audition and gave her a well-deserved standing ovation.

“It was great!” Katy Perry said. “It gave me the feels.”

“I think she’s Top Ten,” Luke Bryan commented matter-of-factly. “There’s just really beautiful things going on in your voice…”

“You went to a place that was so pure and so angelic, that it was really one of those moments where we couldn’t keep our eyes off of you,” said Lionel Richie.

The judges asked Elleigh to bring her family into the audition room so they could hear their votes. All three of them voted “yes!” So Elleigh earned a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

Head below to watch Elleigh’s beautiful Idol performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” We wish her the best of luck!