Meet Colin Stough, the Small-Town ‘American Idol’ Contestant With Big Dreams and Mom’s Support
American Idol launched its 21st season on Sunday (Feb. 19) with the return of judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Searching for the next big talent, the judges headed to Nashville, Tenn., where they found 18-year-old Colin Stough of Gattman, Mississippi.
Judges wouldn’t have stumbled upon Stough, though, had it not been for the singer's mother, Nara, who signed him up for his audition.
In a pre-recorded clip ahead of his musical debut, the young hopeful shared his background, telling viewers that he lives in a small town where most of his relatives are neighbors.
His father has never been in the picture, he says.
"My dad, he really never had been there. He chose alcohol and drugs instead of me and Mom. Man, that will just kill a family, you know," Stough shares.
"This is where we had to go. There wasn’t nowhere else,” he adds of the town he now resides in, which has a population of 79 residents.
Stough — who found a love of music and horses — went on to explain his appreciation for his extended family, who helped him and his mom get back on their feet after his father left.
“Big thanks to my family here that welcomed us in when we first came back," he says. "It’s hard to find people that will give you the shirt off their back. I know right here in this Gattman circle any of them will do it for anybody."
The young hopeful, with clear confidence, says auditioning for Idol "could change my life."
"The reason why I want to be in it is because ain’t really nothing come from around here," he says. "I want to change that.”
With his guitar in hand, Stough gave everything he had in front of the judging panel, auditioning with Lynyrd Skynyrd's “Simple Man.” Unveling his gruff voice and rasp tone, he threw all of his emotion into the classic hit.
“Mama told me when I was young / ‘Come sit beside me, my only son / and listen closely to what I say / and if you do this it’ll help you / some sunny day’ / oh, yeah,” Stough sang, earning some smiles from his superiors, who cheered him on at the end of his audition.
“This is what American Idol is about,” Bryan said with excitement afterward.
“Yes yes! Colin, you’ve got the magic in you,” Perry added. “100%. You’ve got stardust.”
Judges requested that Stough’s mom to join them in the room to watch her son receive his Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
“Mama can see it. I can see it. We can see it. This is going to change your life, young man. I’m going to tell you something I gladly cast that ‘yes’ vote,” Richie exclaimed.
“It’s a ‘yes’ from me,” Perry added with Bryan shouting, “It’s a ‘yes,’ ‘yes,’ ‘yes’ from me.”
“It is amazing that kid's out there,” Bryan later told his castmates after Stough left the room, to which Perry replied. “I know, that kid was born to be a star.”
Fans can keep up with Stough’s journey on American Idol every Sunday on ABC.
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