Preacher Tyler Allen brought America to tears with his rendition of “I Believe in You and Me,” a Four Tops song made popular by Whitney Houston, on American Idol’s 20th season premiere.
Allen shared why he was auditioning, a story that had judge Katy Perry ugly crying before he even sang a note.
The recently married Allen is an ordained elder at Ark of Safety Church Ministries in Mobile, Alabama and began ministering to people at the age of nine. Allen also has his own ministry organization called “Tyler Nicholas Allen Ministries,” where he can be booked to sing at weddings, conferences, revivals, and more.
The 24-year-old singer told the judges he was there to make them smile and hopefully make them feel good after they heard him sing.
Perry asked Allen why he was auditioning.
“Today is a special day for me. I’m dedicating this to my nephew who passed away this past April. He and his mother (Allen’s sister) [were] in a terrible accident. They were hit by an 18-wheeler and died instantaneously,” Allen emotionally responded.
Allen’s nephew, Noah, was only one when he died and had just started walking and talking. “I never thought I’d have to go through something like this for my family,” Allen shared.
The rising star used to sing “I Believe in You and Me” to Noah when he would rock him to sleep and explained that singing brings him comfort when thinking about his nephew. Allen shared that he would get through it, “but putting him to rest was the hardest thing.”
“Though he’s not here, I do believe he’s in a far better place,” Allen said. “And I’m gonna see him again.”
Singing is healing for Allen, who leapt at the opportunity to showcase his talents on one of America’s number one singing competitions. Before he started singing, Allen told the judges, “What better way to honor [my nephew] than to sing a song by Whitney Houston.”
Allen received a standing ovation from all three judges and was flooded with emotion after the completion of his song.
Judge Luke Bryan told Allen that he checked off a lot of amazing boxes judges are looking for in the next American Idol.
“You are a star,” judge Lionel Richie said. “You’re at the top of my food-chain right now.”
With mascara running down from her eyes, Perry described Allen’s voice as, “God-given” and “beautiful.”
On the same episode wherein two of the judges told Aretha Franklin‘s granddaughter she wasn’t ready, all three judges unanimously told Allen that he was going to the next round of the competition in Hollywood.
“Yes, Lord,” Allen shouted after what he heard.
Multiple videos on Allen’s Instagram prove just how talented this young preacher is. If he doesn’t become American Idol’s next big winner, his audition in itself has definitely made him a household name.