Khalifa Wilson looked like any other singer when she was auditioning for American Idol this year. Armed with her trusty guitar, the singer who goes by the name Kai (because Wiz Khalifa stole her name) had come to the auditions prepared with a couple of chords and some trusted tunes.
Kai’s journey to American Idol was anything but ordinary, however. Her parents did the best they could but never had a lot of money. Her family had been in and out of shelters, and growing up she had even spent some time living in a car. Now, there are eight members of her family living in the same house, but only one bunk bed and a blow-up mattress. Kai and her mother sleep on a blanket on the floor.
Despite all of the adversity, Kai remains positive. “I grew up kinda rough, but I wouldn’t consider it rough,” she told the judges. Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan were amazed at her journey and passion, and how far she had come to be in front of them, playing a guitar gifted to her by her church.
Her first song was a cover of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, but her nerves were evident. The judges could tell something was the matter and helped where they could. Bryan clapped along with her in time so she didn’t have to play the guitar, but Kai was still nervous.
The nerves had come through to her voice, and while she sounded good, it wasn’t as special as the judges were looking for, or as good as Kai knew she could sing.
They invited her to sing a second song, and she took to the piano for her version of The Temptations’ classic My Girl. With a calmer approach and a clever twist on the lyrics, Kai showed her true soul and her true talent. Both she and the judges were in tears after her rendition, and it’s easy to see why.
Check out the video to see what went down at Kai’s audition, and let us know in the comments what you think!