April 12, 2024

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‘American Idol’ contestant’s stunning Black Lives Matter ballad

American Idol saved the best for last during its Season 20 premiere Sunday as 26-year-old songwriter Taylor Fagins gave the most powerful audition of the night. Fagins was the only Idol contestant to sing an original song during the season premiere. His Black Lives Matter ballad titled “We Need More,” which he wrote just three days after George Floyd’s murder in 2020, brought chills down the spines of all three judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. “This is for you,” Fagins whispered before singing the first line of his song, “Ahmaud Arbery, you went for a run ’cause you probably felt free. Ahmaud Arbery, your run had an end that nobody could see.” Fagins’s continued singing, “Little Black boys don’t run outside, or play with water guns at night. They run away from red and white blue lights, and little Black boys don’t go to stores, or use their pockets anymore. Can someone tell them what they’re living for? They want more.” The second verse of Fagins’s song was dedicated to Breonna Taylor as he sang, “I bet your sleep felt so peaceful and pure. Oh, Breonna Taylor, your peace was ended by police, burglars. Oh, little Black girls don’t close their eyes or walk the streets alone at night. They turn their cameras on when they see white. And little Black girls don’t open doors or use their pockets anymore. Can someone tell them what they’re living for?” Fagins’s performance was all the more impactful since it aired just days after Ahmaud Arbery’s killers were convicted on federal hate crime charges and three former Minneapolis police officers were convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights. Following Fagins’s performance, Richie shared, “That’s pretty powerful. You know, I have to tell you something. That’s very heavy. I wasn’t birthed until what was happening until the ’60s. And those songs were there, too. What I’m emotional about is… we need your song in 2022. How disgusting. That was very powerful. I’m very proud of you.” Bryan shared, “Gosh, man, don’t hold back on your feelings and don’t hold back on what life shows you and always write about it. I mean, that was a really, really magical kind of moment for me where I just took every ounce of it in. And it was special,” while Perry stated, “I’m glad you didn’t keep all that to yourself. Activism comes in so many different forms. And it seems that art has the most impact at the end of the day. I just think you should continue your process and hopefully influence a better world.” In the end, Fagins received three resounding yeses from the judges and a ticket to Hollywood.

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