American Idol 2022 LIVE – Cadence Baker wows in audition as Sam Finelli brings judge Luke Bryan to tears

CADENCE Baker shocked the American Idol judges with her audition, while Sam Finelli brought them to tears.

Baker sang Whitney Houston's I’m Your Baby Tonight, and her father played the guitar.

The judges unanimously voted to send her to Hollywood.

“I think it’s one of the best auditions I’ve seen,” said Luke Bryan.

Finelli's audition was the last of the night, and after revealing that he has autism and was too afraid to audition, he delivered a performance that warranted a standing ovation from the judges.

“You were born enough,” said Lionel Richie. “Your handicap is your gift.”

Finelli and all three of the judges became emotional, with Bryan covering his face to wipe tears.

All three judges then gave him a golden ticket and sent him off to Hollywood.

Judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry, along with host Ryan Seacrest continued the third week of auditions for the Season 20 competition.

Read our American Idol live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Jennifer Korn

    Rooting for Sam

    Fans are cheering for Sam, after he gave an emotional last audition of the night.

  • Jennifer Korn

    A standing ovation

    "I was too afraid to audition," said Sam.

    "You were born enough," said Lionel. "Your handicap is your gift."

    Katy said Sam picked the perfect song.

    "I needed this song 20 years ago," said Sam.

    The judges called Sam's mother into the audition room and gave him a golden ticket to Hollywood.

  • Jennifer Korn

    'This is my dream'

    Sam sang Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves.

    He started crying after he finished. "These are happy tears, I promise," he said.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Last audition of the day

    The last to audition tonight is Sam Finelli.

    "I never thought I'd be here in a million years," he said. Sam's mother revealed he is autistic.

    "I don't connect with people very well."

    "Music was my best friend."

  • Jennifer Korn

    Judges vote yes

    Ryleigh Madison was sent off with a golden ticket to Hollywood.

    The judges asked her to dial down her accent "25 percent" when singing, but were otherwise impressed with Ryleigh's audition.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Up Next, Ryleigh Madison

    Ryleigh Madison is a 16-year-old high schooler from North Carolina.

    She is singing a Gabby Barrett single, The Good Ones.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Gabby Barrett inspires contestants

    The contestants and judges are reflecting on Gabby Barrett's influence on the competition, after her 2018 appearance.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Mark's mustache 'brings the cash'

  • Jennifer Korn

    Judges approve

    "You guys know this is nerve-wracking, right?" Mark asked the judges immediately after he finished singing.

    "I do like what you're doing," said Lionel.

    The judges voted to send Mark to Hollywood.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Up next, Mark Osborne

    Mark Osborne is a 26-year-old country singer and said he is trying out for American Idol for his mother's birthday.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Donavan Diaz sings next

    The other funeral home worker is now singing for his shot at a golden ticket.

    "I don't like all this DTA," said Katy. "Death talk anxiety."

    The platinum ticket fell off the wall, spooking the judges.

    The judges said they couldn't connect with his performance and did not give him a ticket to Hollywood.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Emily Faith sings first

    Emily Faith is a country singer and sang for the judges first.

    "You have an authentic country voice," said Luke.

    The judges gave her a golden ticket to Hollywood.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Up next, funeral workers

    Two contestants who happen to work at funeral homes crossed paths and are up next to audition.

  • Jennifer Korn

    'Keep your head up'

    Ryan Seacrest had some encouraging words for Taniya.

    "Sometimes all you need is time," he wrote.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Judges vote no for now

    "It was a very youthful performance," said Luke. "I think you have tons of promise."

    "I know there's more there," said Katy. "You have to go and discover that next gear."

    "If you take this kind of start and work on your delivery, practice, practice, and then come back to see us," said Lionel. "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

    Lionel gave Taniya a yes and told her to come back.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Next up, Taniya Boatwright

    Next to audition for a ticket to Hollywood is Taniya Boatwright.

    She said when she was growing up, she was bullied because of her weight.

    She is singing A Change is Gonna Come, by Sam Cooke

  • Jennifer Korn

    Dakota gets a golden ticket

    'You are exactly what we want to find," said Luke.

    The judges said he may even end up in the top 10.

    Dakota was then told he is going to Hollywood.

  • Jennifer Korn

    'Pure country'

    "He's actually good," said Luke, after Katy shouted at Dakota to tune his guitar.

    Luke asked him to try singing without the guitar.

    "We found somebody here," said Lionel. "You're pure country."

    Katy called him authentic and raw.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Next up, Dakota Hayden

    From a small town in Kentucky, Dakota is from a population of about 500 people.

    He said he is the most excited to audition in front of Luke Bryan.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Taking the broom to the next round

  • Jennifer Korn

    Like a Disney star

    "You're just a great singer of that style of music," said Luke.

    "When you started, I got chills," said Katy.

    The judges were questioning whether Abigail's style is suited for American Idol.

    However, the judges voted to send her to the next round.

  • Jennifer Korn

    Singing into a broom

    Abigail Brookes, from Castle Rock, Colorado, is used to singing into a broom instead of a microphone.

    She is now singing for a shot at a golden ticket to Hollywood.

  • Jennifer Korn

    More auditions underway

    More contestants are singing it out for a golden ticket.

    One singer is uniquely imitating a trump solo with her voice.

  • Jennifer Korn

    'A soul stirrer'

  • Jennifer Korn

    Dontrell gets a golden ticket

    Luke decided to send Dontrell to Hollywood after allowing him to sing another song.

    Lionel got up and gave him a hug. "I am so proud," he said.

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