Billy Dean Accompanies ‘American Idol’ Contestant on Keith Urban Song [Watch]
Channell, who hails from Pace, Fla., has some all-star supporters including Kenny Rogers and Dean. Dean was on hand to play guitar and support Channell at her audition.
Once judge Luke Bryan saw Dean enter the room, he told fellow Idol judge Katy Perry, "So, Billy's a wonderful country music songwriter, country artist. You've had, what, probably five, six number ones?" he asked Dean.
"Yeah, I'm at 11 Top 10 singles, Song of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year. I'm all good and washed-up now," Dean joked.
Channell performed an acoustic rendition of Urban's smash hit and left all the judges in awe.
"If this is 16 years old, I can't imagine what 19 might be, or 20. I mean, your sound right now is so confident," Lionel Richie told her.
"Don't be scared to have fun with this, 'cause you've got the voice. Right. But your voice was a little small... at first. But then you showed us it wasn't small. Good job," Bryan said with a smile.
After her performance, the judges told Channell that she was going to Hollywood!
It turned out Dean already knew Richie, and he gushed about Channell to the pop superstar.
"I love working with her, man. Great work ethic and, uh... met Lionel at Kenny [Rogers]' First Fifty Years [show]. You probably remember that dinner," he said. "But [Rogers] found Chloe, and that's how I found Chloe, was through Kenny."
Richie also credits Rogers with some of his own success. He was successful as a member of the Commodores, but largely an unknown quantity as a solo artist when Rogers tapped him to write him a ballad to sing. The result was "Lady," which became one of the Rogers' signature songs and helped Richie launch a solo career that saw him shoot to superstardom in the '80s.
"So let me just tell ya — Uncle Kenny found you? Well, let me tell you something. Kenny was the first one who said, 'I couldn't have done it without Lionel Richie.' And that launched my career forward. That was the beginning of the crossover forever," Richie recounted.
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