Watch This Westchester Resident’s Heartwarming American Idol Audition

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Kaylin Hedges is a 15-year-old Westchester resident who took the American Idol stage and earned a platinum ticket to Hollywood.

The 15-year-old Pound Ridge resident went through a whirlwind of emotions during her audition on Season 21 of American Idol. Hedges waited patiently among the other contestants, in Nashville, for 14 hours. At 9:30 p.m. it was finally her time to shine. The last contestant to hit the stage, Hedges performed an emotional rendition of Lonestar’s “I’m Already There” in front of judges, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.

She dedicated the song to her father, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Hedges, who is stationed in Hawaii. Hedges earned a standing ovation from the judges, who were visibly impressed by the teen’s talent. “That big ole’ voice in that small body,” notes Perry.


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In a swift decision, they awarded Hedges with a platinum ticket, which only four contests a season receive. The platinum ticket allows a contestant to head straight to the second round of Hollywood Week and be the first to choose their duet partners.

The platinum ticket, although a massive win, wasn’t the only surprise Hedges would receive. Perry brought out a video message from a loved one who couldn’t be there: Kaylin’s father. Little did she know, he was watching the whole time. “Turn around,” Perry said. Next came a heartfelt reunion between Hedges and her father, a reunion not even Kaylin’s mother knew was in the works.

Having her father witness the audition in person took the meaning behind her performance to a whole new level. “I was excited because he doesn’t get to experience a lot of big moments in my life because he lives in Hawaii,” says Kaylin.


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Once the reunion aired, the Army brat earned ample recognition from fellow Army brats and Army wives. Hedges’ Instagram DMs and comment sections flooded with people relating to having a family member deployed overseas.

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“That made me really happy because when people can connect and you can be a voice for all of those people, it’s a special feeling,” says Hedges.

Next up, viewers get to watch Hedges battle it out in Hollywood, with episodes airing on Sunday and Monday nights at 8 p.m. leading up to the live shows. Tune in and cheer on the Westchester native!


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