'American Idol': Sam Finelli, a Contestant With Autism, Wows Judges With Kacey Musgraves' Performance

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There were lots of waterworks on Sunday's episode of American Idol as contestant Sam Finelli faced his fears and auditioned for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan

The 28-year-old bakery assistant opened up about his struggles with autism, expressing how music helped him get through a difficult childhood.

"I don't connect with people very well. It's just a small part of who I am," Sam explained. "It's not all of who I am. It was lonely growing up, but music was my best friend."

Sam's mom, Suzie, added, "Music helps him a lot, just puts his earbuds in and that's how he learned to cope." 

Despite only ever doing a bit of karaoke around town, Sam decided to shoot his shot and perform Kacey Musgraves' song, "Rainbow," for the Idol judges.

The emotional ballad turned out to be the perfect choice for the singer, earning him a standing ovation from the teary-eyed judges. 

"You told us about your struggle and now you walk out here after no other experience to American Idol and you have three judges giving you a standing ovation," Richie told him. "I want you to know right now, we are so proud of you. Sam, you were born enough and what we consider your handicap is your gift." 

Richie then asked Perry to take over, because, he shared, "I'm just going to break down and start crying." 

The judges asked Sam's mom to come in as they delivered the good news that he was going to Hollywood. 


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