Hunter Metts, 22, started crying after finishing his gorgeous performance of “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once during the April 18 episode of American Idol. Through tears, he said was “so sorry” for crying. The Idol judges praised his emotional performance, and both Lionel Richie and Katy Perry admitted they didn’t mind the lyric flub at all when they spoke to reporters, including HollywoodLife, after the live show.
“He gave us something special tonight, and the thing I want him to do is to recover,” Lionel told reporters. “So, he forgot the lyrics. That was the greatest part of the show for me because it showed so much emotion, and if he never sang another note and cried for the rest of the song, it would have been a win. Just lean into what works.”
Lionel also added that Hunter’s performance is what you would call a “perfect” performance. “[A perfect performance] is when you get the crowd to pay attention to what you just did, no matter what you do, and that is the point,” Lionel said. “We spend so much time as artists trying to be perfect and singing the lyrics wrong or falling off the stairs or the stage. That is the show they came to see because that isn’t rehearsed, ladies and gentlemen!”
Hunter was in the final stages of the performance when he forgot the lyrics. He sang the lyrics “take this sinking boat” and instead of singing “and point it home,” he stumbled a bit. He started singing a later lyric and quickly realized he messed up and forgot the order.
Katy acknowledged that the pressure the Idol top 12 finalists are facing is incredibly intense. “They go home to their hotels every day and week, and they do what they shouldn’t do and read the comments and study the performance. They read those dang comments that is none of their business, and it gets into their heads and then they have millions of voices in their head. It is not great but all that pressure mounts… It mounts. And it is a real emotional thing. It is a lot, and after this year and a half, they have been through this COVID American Idol journey with us, and they are so close to the American Idol, it’s stressful.”
Hunter waited until after his performance was over to start crying. Lionel and Katy gave him a standing ovation. When Katy saw his tears, she told Hunter that the flub “shows that you are human and vulnerable, and everybody relates to that.” Luke Bryan said he “didn’t care” and didn’t even notice lyric mess-up because Hunter’s falsettos were some of the best he’s ever seen on Idol.
When host Ryan Seacrest asked Hunter what was going through his mind after the performance, a very emotional Hunter said, “I just wish I didn’t mess up.” Hunter’s being hard on himself because this performance will go down as one of the most touching performances of season 19. American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays on ABC.