American Idol returned on Sunday night (April 17) and it’s an incredibly stiff competition now that the show is down to its top 20 contestants, leaving judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan overwhelmed by the sheer amount of talent. Christian Guardino only made the competition more fierce when he took to the Idol stage to perform John Lennon’s 1971 classic “Imagine.”
Guardino appeared on the stage, surrounded by twinkling bright lights, to deliver a stunning rendition of the track. “Imagine there’s no heaven/ It’s easy if you try/ No hell below us/ Above us, only sky/ Imagine all the people/ Livin’ life in peace,” he sang, sweeping into a flawless falsetto before launching into the song’s iconic chorus.
At one point, Perry was spotted dabbing tears away from her eyes, which prompted Bryan to ask her, “Katy, how many stages of cry are there? Because Katy has went through all the consonants of crying.” When it was time to share his thoughts on Guardino’s performance, he told the hopeful, “You just slayed that performance. I didn’t hear anything but perfection.”
Richie was equally impressed with Guardino’s rendition of the song. “You are the poster child for the power of the human spirit,” he added. “There are so many people in the world who would say ‘This is what’s wrong with my life,’ and then you walk out and say, ‘Let me tell you what’s next,’ and you’ve taken all of your blessings and joined us on this stage. We love what you’re doing.”
Perry, after having some time to gather herself, backed up her fellow judges’ comments and told Guardino that his talent serves a higher purpose. “Hearing what you have overcome and the mountains you’ve climbed and the mountains of gratitude that you have and then you sing ‘Imagine,’ which is a world changing song…you are put on this planet to do something super powerful and you are doing it right now and in this room. God bless you, Christian,” she said.
Watch Guardino perform “Imagine” below.