The aspiring singer and produce stocker from Greenville, South Carolina never performed in front of anyone before, except for sending a video of himself singing to one of his friends, who was thoroughly impressed by his vocal abilities.
Donning a pair of sweatpants and a long sleeve t-shirt, Westberry auditioned with a cover of Sam Hunt’s “2016.” The contestant performed the fan-favorite Hunt tune from behind a grand piano in front of Idol judges, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
Following Westberry’s performance, the Idol judges compared his soothing vocals to Owl City frontman, Adam Young, and praised his laid back vibes and modest personality.
“Alright, Mr. Westberry, You have a heartbreak tone,” Bryan said. “Man, you can sing some stuff and it pulls us in and we’re just like oh my god, this kid’s breaking our heart and you’re doing that with that tone you just gave us.”
“Yeah, you’re really good,” Perry gushed, before adding, “Your voice makes us melt, it doesn’t have this crazy range. It doesn’t need this crazy range. It’s wild.”
Richie then asked Westberry “a very serious question,” asking him if he likes “working in the produce department” and if he has a “passion for produce.” The 20-year-old told Richie that he does not have passion for working in the produce department, and that he in fact does aspire to be a singer on American Idol.
“Passion is the key here,” Richie told the mellow contestant, as he motivated Westberry to be more lively.
“You may be one of the most limited singers that we’ve ever sent to Hollywood.” Bryan told the young singer, before Perry added, “It’s very Owl City.”
“But your delivery is just right up there with James Taylor,” Bryan said, complimenting Westberry’s performance, as Richie chimed in and said he’s “a storyteller.”
“Maybe the most moved I’ve felt all day,” Perry said.
“You’re like walking melatonin, but man if you’ve got that character and somehow you can give us a little more vocals, you will melt hearts,” Bryan added.
After three ‘yes’ from the Idol judges, Bryan, Perry and Richie collectively told Westberry “You’re going to Hollywood!”
See Westberry’s audition and more on American Idol this Sunday, March 6 at 8/7c on ABC.