“My name is Layla Spring, and I’m from the heart of Kentucky!” she shouted to the live audience assembled before her, and then she launched into the Tina Turner classic “Proud Mary,” with a wink of Reba in her eye, and some Elvis in her swagger.
In the judgment session with chart toppers Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, Bryan referred to Spring as “this little spark plug,” and Perry complimented her for learning from the guidance they gave her in previous rounds.
But there was one hangup.
“We’re really scared to send 16 year olds through,” Bryan said to the pride of Marion County. Then, after an interminable wait, he added, “but you’re a 16 year old that’s going through.”
Spring will be in the show’s round of 24, as will one-time Lexington resident Amelia Hammer Harris.
She didn’t get quite the spotlight that Spring did, but later in Monday’s show, the viewing audience saw a few seconds of her twist on the the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black,” bringing her back to the band whose material helped her win her first audition. And Harris, 27, got a big on-air compliment from Perry.
“Amelia, sometimes people don’t let you be beautiful and smart,” Perry said. “But trust and believe, cause you have it, and you’re going through.”
The show is going into two weeks of solos and celebrity duets. At the end, the field will be whittled down to 14, who will go on to live competition, voted on by viewers.
Rich Copley, @copiousnotes