Tanner Charles of Broken Arrow sang to his girlfriend on “American Idol” and earned a ticket to Hollywood.
In an episode that aired Sunday night on ABC, Charles (full name: Tanner Charles Luetjen) strayed from the audition norm by bringing out his girlfriend, Delaney Blaylock, for his audition performance in front of judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
Blaylock stood behind a piano that Luetjen played as he sang “Golden Eyes,” a song he wrote for her because her eyes are “super golden.” He had planned on revealing the song to Blaylock on her birthday but instead had her accompany him to Nashville for an Idol surprise.
“So the question is, what am I doing in here?” Blaylock said before getting an explanation.
Luetjen pushed all the right buttons. He got a hug from his girlfriend and a unanimous “yes” from the judges when it came time to determine whether he was worthy of a golden ticket.
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“There are a lot of singers that come to this show, but you are an artist,” Perry said.
Richie complimented Luetjen’s juggling of difficult tasks — auditioning for Idol and singing to a girlfriend — before telling him “the sky is the limit."
Said Bryan: “You are one of the best I have personally seen, really, at telling the story, and then you are able to soar melodically because you have the ability to go there. Your instincts are perfect.”
When Luetjen and Blaylock were interviewed by Ryan Seacrest following the audition, Blaylock called it “the best birthday gift I could have ever asked for, ever.”
Luetjen, 21, is a graduate of Mingo Valley Christian School and a former student at Tulsa Community College and Oral Roberts University who is stepping away from college to see how far he can go on “American Idol.” He is a Battle Creek Church worship leader who sings at the church’s main campus in Broken Arrow.