Even children of famous musicians have to earn their golden ticket to Hollywood. And that’s exactly what Ava Maybee did on Sunday night’s episode (March 27) of American Idol.
Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, the daughter of Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith impressed the judging panel with her take on Stevie Wonder‘s classic “Lately,” as she crooned, “Well I’m a man of many wishes/ I hope my premonition misses/ But what I really feel/ My eyes won’t let me hide/ ‘Cause this time could be mean goodbye.”
In their critiques, Katy Perry commented that 20-year-old college student was a “real alto” while Lionel Richie likened her voice to “remnants of Cher.”
“It started to really open up when the chorus hit. It’s a cool alto sound; I think if you went forward you’d be challenged a lot,” Perry continued, before complimenting Maybee on her sartorial choice to pair a floral shirt and a leopard print skirt for her audition outfit. Luke Bryan added, “I do feel like you’re an artist. I’m interested to hear and see more of what you’ve got goin’ on.”
Ultimately, the Idol hopeful earned the stamp of approval from all three judges, turning her from an Ava Maybee into an “Ava Yes.”
While Wonder’s emotional ballad originally only reached No. 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon its 1981 release 0ff Hotter Than July, the song reached new heights after it was covered by Jodeci for their 1993 Uptown MTV Unplugged live album. Not only did the group’s rendition peak at No. 3 on the Hot 100, it also shot to the top spot on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Rhythmic Airplay charts.
Watch Maybee’s Idol audition below.