The auditions on American Idol have always had some tough, heartbreaking moments — and Wednesday’s episode was no different.
The long-running series saw one of its saddest moments when Idol hopeful Mario, who lost his sight by time he turned 10, didn’t get a golden ticket to move on after auditioning for judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban.
“I was born with a degenerative eye condition that caused me to go blind by the age of 10,” Mario shared before his performance.
“Which meant before the age of 10 I was riding bikes, getting in fights.
Naturally, after I went blind, I was pissed. So I was very rebellious [and] they tried to institutionalize me.”
“But my grandmother, who is here, she is responsible for the reason why people never know I’m blind,” Mario continued, “and the reason why I forget I’m blind a lot of the time.”
After winning over the judges with his bright smile, his beaming charm and his emotional backstory, Mario paid tribute to the late Natalie Cole by singing her 1975 single “Inseparable.”
Unfortunately for Mario, the judges didn’t find him to be amazing, or to be memorably bad — just pretty good.
“Mario, your spirit is so strong, the whole room can feel it right now,” Connick Jr. said, trying to let the young performer down gently.
“You’re a powerful presence. And although I think you have talent as a singer, I don’t think it’s specifically what I’m looking for.”
In the end, the other judges agreed and the previously confident Mario exited the audition room in tears.
His friend, who accompanied Mario to the audition, tried to comfort him but it was to no avail. “I blew it,” Mario sobbed, head in his hands, as he exited the audition room.
In past seasons of American Idol, if you didn’t get your ticket to Hollywood, you could always work on your skills and come back next year — but that’s not the case this time around , making every elimination that much harder.
“We always used to tell a lot of the contestants, ‘We hope to see you again. Please come back and audition next year. Don’t give up.’ We don’t have the luxury of saying that anymore,” Lopez said.