Bethany Teague walked in front of American Idol judges Sunday night (March 24) with a story that would leave judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan speechless.

The 25-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., displayed a more inward, timid disposition, but unleashed strong vocals as she began to sing.

Teague picked "Piece by Piece" by Kelly Clarkson for her Idol audition — a heart-wrenching song in itself about people who have walked out of your life and the ones who have stepped up to fill the gap.

What viewers would quickly learn is that storyline is deeply woven into Teague’s personal story. She let the lyrics cling to the notes — the weight of the words and her delivery both filled with emotion.

As she closed, she broke into tears.

“My mom passed away in 2017, after giving birth to my sister,” Teague told judges as tears ran down her face.

At just five years old, she was adopted by her grandmother, who, similar, to Teague, has a passion for music.

“She raised me, loved on me, and had a passion for music and was mad she never had a kid that could sing,” she said, smiling. Teague's father wasn't in the picture, and that's why Clarkson's song — also about a father who did not stick around — resonated so deeply with the contestant.

Judges voted unanimously: Teague should move on to the next round: Hollywood. But they also left her with a challenge.

All three were moved by her story and encouraged her to take that story and pain and channel it into her voice. As Perry noted, turning her pain into purpose.

On TikTok, Teague has a staggering 148K followers and growing since her episode aired.

In an interview with WSOC-TV, Teague shared that during the pandemic, the preschool teacher decided to take a chance on herself and post her singing on TikTok. Clearly, many fell in love with her voice, which pushed her to audition for Idol.

“For a long time, I had this really bad insecurity about myself that I wasn’t like what people wanted to see, I didn’t look the way that society pictured me as an artist, or I wasn’t skinny enough, or I wasn’t this, and I always picked myself apart. And one day during COVID, I was like, I’m so tired of staying in my house. I have nobody to talk to,” Teague says.

"I'm going to Hollywood," she writes on Instagram. "This is literally a dream."


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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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