Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie have already sent a handful of country artists to Hollywood since the American Idol Season 20 premiere, making the pool of potential country stars bigger with every week. So, when Dakota Hayden stepped out to audition in front of the trio of judges, he had a big job.

But he proved that he is not only country to the core, but he also has a talented voice to go along with it. “I was raised in the country, my parents are country basically everybody is country,” Hayden told Idol viewers in an introduction clip ahead of his audition.

In the clip, the 17-year-old singer also shared that he grew up in Fordsville, Ky., a town with a population of less than 500. He also shared he lives on a 36-acre farm, where he and his family raise cattle and turkey and drive around in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Heading into the audition room, Hayden turned heads with his appearance. So much so that Richie told him that he resembled one of Bryan’s sons. Looks aside, Hayden, who brought his guitar with him, captivated judges with his acoustic rendition of Luke Combs’ “When It Rains It Pours," from the country star's debut This One's for You album.

Despite his ability to play on an instrument, Bryan paused the singer and requested that he sing a cappella instead. On his second time around, Hayden impressed the judges, even more, showcasing his natural rasp and effortless twang on the country hit.

“Wow,” Perry exclaimed before calling Hayden “raw,” “authentic” and “Top 10” material.

“You are pure country, and it’s believable as heck,” Lionel added. “I love your pureness. You’re an awe-shucks kind of guy, and it translates and even though you’re not Luke’s son, I’d like to kind of ... that’s what I’m thinking right now. Your attitude and personality kind of reminds me of my man down there.”

“I think you’re in the right place. Thank you for driving your butt down here from Fordsville, Ky. You are exactly what we want to find. Katy is right. I think you’re going to snip the Top 10. I’m a yes,” Bryan added.

Both Richie and Perry echoed Bryan’s approval of sending Hayden to Hollywood, with Perry fittingly saying, "I’m a yee-haw!"

“I’m a rootin’ tootin’ yes,” Richie followed.

American Idol returns Sunday (March 20) on ABC.

See American Idol Contestants Then and Now

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