‘American Idol': Luke Bryan Says Cadence Baker’s Audition Was ‘One of the Best’ He’s Ever Seen
Cadence Baker of Muscle Shoals, Ala., brought her family-inherited musical talent to Season 20’s American Idol on Sunday (March 13), auditioning with Whitney Houston’s pop smash, “I’m Your Baby Tonight.”
Making the tune her own, the 18-year-old stylist showcased her jazz vocals alongside accompaniment provided by her father — a seasoned guitarist named Shane Baker. The young hopeful's interpretation of the Houston hit was so moving, it brought all three judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie — to their feet.
In fact, Bryan was so impressed with Baker's audition that he even declared her as a possible winner of the season.
“I think it’s one of the best auditions I’ve seen,” Bryan noted, adding that he wrote Baker down as a potential Top 10. “Write this day down, because it’s a dadgum special one for me. That was awesome, awesome, awesome.”
“People come in all the time with guitarists. You came in with a professional guitar player that happens to be your dad," Richie gushed, giving credit to Baker’s dad. "He had such a pocket. I mean, dad giving it like bam, bam, bam. That pocket was so tight, and then your daughter just stepped right in the pocket. I loved it."
“Yeah, a lot of people come in and go, ‘Well, I’m going to sing ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ by Whitney Houston, and in my head, I’m saying ‘Alright, well, see yourself to the door.'” Perry joked, adding, “That was amazing. It was really good!”
Baker may not be a country singer, but she does have ties to the genre as the granddaughter of hit songwriter Gary Baker — the name behind the country-turned-R&B hit “I Swear," which was recorded by John Michael Montgomery. The elder Baker, who owns a recording studio in Florence, Ala., also co-wrote Lonestar’s “I’m Already There,” among other songs. In addition to that, he was also in the country-pop band the Shooters.
After Bryan asked Baker why she chose to audition for Idol, she remarked, “I want to go beyond what my grandfather and my dad did.”
“You’re a star,” Bryan said, asking the other judges, “And, stars go to where, kids?”
“Hollywood!” all three exclaimed as Baker went on to retrieve her Golden Ticket.
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