Sunday’s episode of “American Idol” featured a young man named Israel McFarland whose religious upbringing caused him to rebel against his mother with his songs. During his audition, he was encouraged by judge Katy Perry, who also used music to rebel against her pastor parents.
After McFarland walked into the audition space and introduced himself, Perry said his name was “interesting," prompting him to share its origin.
“My parents like to name us all names from the Bible,” McFarland revealed.
The 21-year-old opened up about his family, claiming they were very strict with him growing up. He said his mom still makes comments if she hears a curse word in his songs.
However, he said, “cursing is one of the few things in life that I enjoy. So I just can’t stop!”
Judge Perry, a pastor's daughter who is a secular pop star, said she could relate to his upbringing. She encouraged him to rebel against his religious past by writing a song titled "I Kissed a Boy and I Liked It," a reference to her own song about a same-sex kiss.
“Alright, Israel, what Satan music are you going to share with us today?” she asked as her fellow judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan laughed.
The Nashville resident auditioned with an original song called "The Cost."
“This song is actually about, I want to chase my goals, but that just sort of unbearably brings me away from my close friends and I don’t know man, like life is so ******* short,” McFarland said during his audition in Austin, Texas.
“I’m going to try and not **** it up, you know what I’m saying,” the contestant added as he took a seat at the piano to accompany himself.
Bryan said he thought the song had a lot of cool things about it but pegged the artist as more of a “songwriter" than a singer. Richie disagreed and encouraged McFarland, but Perry said McFarland’s voice needed work.
Ultimately, the singer did not advance to the Hollywood round as two judges voted against him.
“Well, I’m sad I didn’t make it to the next round, but it was still such a cool experience!!” he wrote on Instagram following the experience.