for some “American Idol” contestants, talent runs in the family.
Such is the case of Zaréh, 21, whose mother Nadia Turner finished in the Top 8 on Season 4 of the hit reality singing competition back in 2005.
Audition for “idol” on Sunday’s episode, Zaréh, a stylist, said she was 4 during her mother’s “Idol” heyday.
Before her audition, Zaréh gave Turner the mother of all surprises – by tricking her into thinking they were on their way to a mother-daughter spa day.
“She does not know I am auditioning for ‘American Idol,’ ” Zaréh said. “Ella She’s either going to be super disappointed or super thrilled.”
To keep the surprise under wraps, Zaréh had her mother wear a blindfold on the drive (because that’s obviously not suspicious at all) and shocked her when host Ryan Seacrest ushered them out of the car.
“This… is ‘American Idol!’ Seacrest delivered in his signature cadence, to a blindfolded Turner’s expletive-filled shock.
“Where did you think you were going?” the host asked. Turner replied: “The damn spa!”
And to bring things even more full circle, Zaréh wore the same yellow top her mother wore during her “Idol” audition for then-judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.
Now singing for Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, the stylist jumped into Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows,” while her mother quietly cried tears of joy in the corner.
“For the first time on ‘American Idol,’ the handkerchief goes to your mother,” Richie said after the performance, noting how the Zaréh groovy vocals made her mom cry and dance at the same time. “There’s a word called pride. Mom was blowing up over there.”
“Well this is the best mother-daughter day ever!” Perry quipped.
Like the other judges, Bryan was impressed, but encouraged Zaréh to push herself. “When you start getting to the top levels of your range, gritty it up a little bit, dig in,” he said.
Zaréh earned three yes’s and was sent through to Hollywood.
“It’s such a wonderful, heartfelt story on our 20th season here at ‘American Idol’ to have this come full circle,” Richie said.
Sam Moss’s ‘Idol’ dreams were almost dashed
Who says “American Idol” isn’t a place of second chance?
Though contestant Sam Moss only earned a yes from Perry during her first audition in Austin, Texas, the judge believed in her so much Perry brought Moss back a month later to audition again in Nashville to prove Bryan and Richie wrong.
The 25-year-old piano teacher from Winterset, Iowa called the second chance to audition her “redemption story.”
“I’m back because I told myself that if I went in and showed who I was, no matter what happened, that I was OK,” she said. “And I didn’t show who I was. And so that’s what I’m here to do today.”
Moss said at her first audition her nerves got the best of her.
“I knew that it wasn’t my best,” she said. “I walked away feeling pretty disappointed with myself.”
But this time Moss was determined to lay it all on the audition room with a heart-wrenching original song. As soon as she finished, it was clear Perry would have “I told you so” rights over Richie and Bryan for a long, long time.
“Whatever I said in Austin I take back,” Bryan said. “It’s a yes for me.”
Perry said that Moss delivered “one of the best originals we heard all season.” So why didn’t she sing it in her first audition of her?
“I was trying to be what I thought you wanted me to be,” Moss confessed, to the exasperation of the judges.
“You are a great songwriter,” Perry told her. “Start believing in yourself because I believe in you.”
With three yes’s, Moss will be going to Hollywood.
Douglas Mills Jr. silences haters with soaring Billie Holiday song
Another standout audition came from Douglas Mills Jr., an 18-year-old high school student who opened up about the bullying he’s endured on his journey to “American Idol.”
“I have always wanted to audition for ‘American Idol,’ but I have never really left the state or been on an airplane,” he said. “Music is my life, my safe space from doubters and haters and people who just don’t like me in general.”
Mills, who is Black, said that when he was younger he was bullied for his race.
“It was very painful,” he said. “And still today it’s hard for me to love myself, but music has helped me out.”
Mills decided to sing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” which he picked “especially for the Black community.”
“Music can heal,” he added. “It helps you love yourself for who you are.”
The performance was “superb,” Richie said.
When Perry asked why Mills had never auditioned for the show before, he said people told him he wasn’t good enough.
“Oh those people can go to ‘h,’ ‘e,’ double hockey sticks,” Perry said. “You’re a super star. You transcend time and space. You froze the room. That was iconic.”
Bryan said he was “speechless.”
“You just took us on a journey,” he said. “You controlled every second of that. I don’t know. I’m speechless about it.”
Mills made it through to Hollywood and earned a group hug from all three judges.
Other singers who earned golden tickets to Hollywood include 21-year-old security officer Fritz Hager, 24-year-old land surveyor Dan Marshall Griffith and 23-year-old temp agency worker Haley Slaton, who auditioned while over 5 months pregnant.
“American Idol” returns tomorrow at 8 pm ET.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism