Mike Parker grew up in Virginia and was surrounded by music as a child because his parents were the lead vocalists in a band, so it’s no surprise that he would catch the musical bug.
That led him to American Idol where he stepped up to audition even though his family was going through a rather difficult time.
Before his Idol audition, Parker’s mom came down with a mystery illness.
“It could be leukemia,” he said during the show, revealing that she was hospitalized the day before he left for his audition.
“I feel guilty in a sense being here, but I know this is exactly what she would want,” he admitted.
Accompanied by a piano, Parker delivered a soulful rendition of Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine.”
The judges appeared to be shocked by Parker’s talent.
“That last green on the vine thing just gave me chill bumps,” Luke Bryan shared after his performance. “If you would just walk out there and just be cool and deliver it really silky, man, it’s gonna crush!”
— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) March 7, 2022
Lionel Richie asked him to elaborate on what kind of music he listens to.
“I listen to a lot of country but I am R&B and soul just as a makeup, as an origin,” the Virginia native explained.
“Man, I think you’re a country singer. I think you have the potential to be truly amazing,” Bryan added.
Katy Perry was all-in as well as she asked, “If I said Top 24, would you prove me right? Could you go even farther than that?”
Parker told her he thought and could and Perry advised, “Lean into that country.”
Before making his official decisions, Richie continued to offer Parker advice.
“Simplicity is king…your voice cry, that texture in your voice? That’s the goal. I really mean that,” he told him. “You have all the goods to make that happen.”
Richie then made his way across the room to give the American Idol hopeful a hug.
“Every once in a while, something comes along where you become the example for so many kids that they don’t have to stay in a box. All black folks don’t play basketball. All black folks don’t rap,” Richie said.
They laughed together as they said, “I don’t do either!”
“This is your inspiring moment. Take this and run with it,” Richie concluded.
Bryan agreed and told him, “You’re 27 years old. It’s never too late to start checking off all them dreams, buddy.”
Mike Parker earned his way to Hollywood with a triple “yes” from the Idol judges’ panel.