Katy Perry broke down in tears after a contestant suffered a shocking medical emergency on Monday’s episode of American Idol.
Makayla Brownlee, a 17-year-old high school student, had a stress-induced seizure while waiting to perform in the solo rounds during Hollywood Week.
‘I’m excited and nervous for this performance,’ the Wellington, Kansas, native said. ‘It’s the most important one of my life. It’s going to be very stressful, and I don’t handle stress well.’
Tears flowing: Katy Perry broke down in tears on Monday’s episode of American Idol after contestant Makayla Brownlee suffered a seizure before her solo turn during Hollywood Week
At the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, Makayla prepared to sing Kacey Musgraves’ Rainbows, explaining that ‘no matter what happens, there’s always gonna be that rainbow.’
Suddenly Makayla got very shaky, exhaling and almost collapsing before she walked offstage.
‘Are you okay?’ Katy, 35, called out. ‘Oh my God.’
Unsure what was happening, Katy told everyone to let Makayla go, possibly thinking the teen just needed to get her bearings backstage.
Stress induced: Makayla suffered a stress-induced seizure
Concerned judge: Katy looked worried as medical staff treated Makayla
Walked off: Makayla introduced her song and then shakily walked off the stage
Then a man was heard telling Makayla to grab him, and another voice said, ‘Relax, we got you.’
Makayla was shown lying on the ground, surrounded by producers and medical personnel.
Luke Bryan, 43, and Lionel Richie, 70, went to see her, as Katy urged them to give her space.
Checking in: Luke Bryan went to check on Makayla while medics helped her out
A show associate looked frantically for candy or orange juice, and a woman was heard to say, ‘She’s seizing,’ as another urged Makayla to ‘breathe through it.’
When she revived, Makayla explained that she had a rare condition called vasovagal syncope, which she was diagnosed with in seventh grade.
‘It’s a heart condition that causes me to react to stress differently than other people, and it could cause a seizure,’ she explained, as her worried father Mark stood by.
Heart condition: The contestant, who has arare condition called vasovagal syncope was helped by her father Mark
‘She can’t control it,’ Mark offered, as he rolled Makayla away in a wheelchair. ‘She’s embarrassed, but physically she’s 100 percent all right.’
‘This opportunity is so important to her. I’d hate to see it inhibited in any way, because she’s such a good singer. She works so hard at it,’ Mark said.
Makayla later returned to perform a flawless version of Rainbow, singing meaningfully about how the world opens up to someone after a period of personal struggle.
Flawless performance: Makayla returned and performed a flawless version of Kacey Musgraves’ Rainbows
‘There’s always been a rainbow hanging over your head,’ she crooned sweetly, as Katy and Luke looked at each other through tear-filled eyes, giving her a standing ovation.
Katy then bent down toward the judges’ table and cried, saying, ‘That was sweet. Oh my God, when we’re like, ”I’m tired.” Perspective, right?’
When the results were announced at the end of the show, Makayla made it through.
Getting emotional: Katy bowed her head as she was overcome with emotion
In Hollywood Week’s last round, many contestants cracked under the pressure of trying to make the final 40.
Last year’s runner-up Alejandro Aranda, 25, told them it was okay to be nervous, as they were expressing themselves, ‘and to me that’s an amazing thing.’
That didn’t help singer Marcus Tinsley, a 28-year-old chalk artist from Phoenix, Arizona, who repeatedly forgot the words to OneRepublic’s If I Lose Myself, or Sheniel Maisonet, a 23-year-old musician from Miami, who fell flat on Sam Smith’s How Do You Sleep? during the solo round.
Good effort: Marcus Tinsley repeatedly forgot the words during his solo performance
After Talin Everett, a 20-year-old college student from Cedar Hills, Utah, wrecked Sia’s Bird Set Free, Katy wondered, ‘Why are people doing this to themselves?’
Even the usually flawless Nick Merico, a 23-year-old server from Woodland Hills, California, seemed to give up halfway through his version of Bryan Adams’ Heaven.
‘Are they just chugging coffee back there, and coming in and freaking out?’ Luke asked after listening to one particularly screechy contestant.
Gave up: Even the usually flawless Nick Merico, a 23-year-old server from Woodland Hills, California, seemed to give up halfway through his version of Bryan Adams’ Heaven
‘This is stupid,’ Katy said as she walked backstage to talk to the waiting contestants.
‘I just want to give you a tip,’ she noted. ‘Everyone’s trying these high notes that they’ve never done before, and it sounds really weird. And it’s freaking us out. So just be yourself.’
‘It’s Hollywood Week, they’re tired, they can’t sing, they’re pushing too hard,’ Luke opined, asking Katy if she was okay when she came back to her chair.
Calm down: Lionel Richie, Katy and Luke were shocked that so many singers were pushing too hard
‘I just told them to calm down,’ she said, laughing.
Earlier, Katy had also cautioned contestants to think twice about singing original songs, saying, ‘Not everyone is Alejandro. Not all original songs are there yet.’
Julia Gargano, a 21-year-old college student from Staten Island, New York, ignored that advice, trotting out a tune that Lionel called ‘the wrong choice, wrong everything.’
Wrong everything: Julia Gargano performed an original song that Lionel said was wrong for her
The judges also disliked a song by door-to-door salesman Robert Taylor, 27, from Donaldsville, Louisiana, with Katy confessing, ‘That was not good for him.’
Jimmy Levy, a 21-year-old musician from Miami, seemed to make the worst impression, as his self-penned tune made Katy say, ‘That was not the edge he needed.’
Finally, Lauren Mascitti, a 27-year-old nurse from Nashville, impressed with her original song about female strength, ‘God Made A Woman,’ which was inspired by her ‘Nana’ Dee.
Original song: Lauren Mascitti, a 27-year-old nurse from Nashville, impressed with her original song about female strength, ‘God Made A Woman,’ which was inspired by her ‘Nana’ Dee
The judges and Dee gave her a standing ovation, and Lionel raved, ‘Very good. Strong song.’
Arthur Gunn, a 21-year-old musician from Wichita, Kansas, 21, had Lionel in tears with his original arrangement of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain.
Arthur changed the scale and key of the song, which he called ‘quite a risk,’ especially after the show’s backing band said they couldn’t play it, and he had to accompany himself on guitar.
Tough decisions: Luke, Katy and Lionel debated over which singers should advance
As he launched into the chorus, Lionel whispered, ‘I’m just loving this,’ and wiped tears from his eyes, adding, ‘Boy, that makes me cry.’
Katy raved about Faith Becnel’s cover of Camila Cabello’s Cry For Me, saying of the 20-year-old server, ‘I just love her so much.’
‘She’s almost like a dadgum Dolly Parton,’ Luke said of the Destrehan, Louisiana, native.
Cool cover: Katy raved about Faith Becnel’s cover of Camila Cabello’s Cry For Me, saying of the 20-year-old server, ‘I just love her so much’
Just Sam, a 20-year subway singer from Harlem, New York, sent up an affecting version of I’m Here from The Color Purple that had the judges on their feet.
‘That’s why we believe in kids right there,’ Luke said. ‘I mean, she’s special.’
For her last few performances, Sam had brought the box she collected tips in onstage with her, but she suddenly realized that she would never need the box, or to sing on the train, ever again.
Nailed it: Just Sam, a 20-year subway singer from Harlem, New York, sent up an affecting version of I’m Here from The Color Purple that had the judges on their feet
Louis Knight, a 19-year-old pizza delivery man from Philadelphia, sang Lewis Capaldi’s Hold Me While You Wait, as his parents sobbed in the audience, overcome with emotion.
‘Even when his voice is tired, it’s beautiful,’ Katy said, as Luke said Louis’ voice gave him ‘chills,’ possibly remembering Louis’ friend who’d died by suicide and inspired him to try out for the show.
Singers who’d arrived at Hollywood Week together had been separated by Sunday’s duets round, and Kat Luna, a 19-year-old student from Miami, struggled as she performed Lady Gaga’s Always Remember Us This Way in front of boyfriend Alex Garrido, 26, who was out.
Pizza guy: Louis Knight, a 19-year-old pizza delivery man from Philadelphia, sang Lewis Capaldi’s Hold Me While You Wait, as his parents sobbed in the audience, overcome with emotion
Tough time: Kat Luna, a 19-year-old student from Miami, struggled as she performed Lady Gaga’s Always Remember Us This Way in front of her boyfriend who was eliminated earlier
Best friends and roommates Sarah Isen and Sophia Wackerman, both 20, were still trying to move ahead after a poor duet the night before, but redeemed themselves after Sophia sang Barbra Streisand’s Somewhere, and Sarah performed Maggie Rogers’ Light On.
Jonny West, a 23-year-old music teacher from Murietta, California, made it through with an original song, while his 26-year-old girlfriend Margie Mays, a music teacher from Wilmington, Delaware, was sent home despite her beautiful version of the Freya Ridings song Lost Without You.
At the end of the night, the surviving contestants learned that they would be singing for the show’s final spots at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii.
Redemption center: Sophia Wackerman redeemed herself by singing Barbra Streisand’s Somewhere
‘Excuse me!’ Katy shouted at them from the Orpheum’s balcony. ‘Have you guys ever heard of Aulani? It’s a Disney resort, and it’s in Hawaii. And you are going!’
The judges threw leis down to the contestants, who grabbed them and screamed.
American Idol will return Sunday on ABC.
Hawaii bound: Sarah Isen also advanced after performing Maggie Rogers’ Light On