The contestant, who hails from Maxton, North Carolina, dedicated his American Idol audition to his late godmother, Betty Morrison, who passed away in April 2021 from sarcoidosis.
“I miss her a lot,” Briggs shared ahead of his performance. “She played a very big part in my life…. Not a day that I could not call her, and she would be right there for me. She fought for a long time [and] didn’t let anything stop her. She always kept going. To lose her was very hard to deal with. American Idol’ is a dream of mine. It’s something me and my godmother, we would talk about often. In a way, she is here in spirit. And I do believe that if I get that golden ticket, she is going to be rejoicing with the angels.”
Briggs went on to perform a cover of Tasha Cobbs’ “For Your Glory," which earned praises from the judges: Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
“Gospel,” Perry shouted as he ended his audition, later adding, “You were moved, Lionel.”
Richie cosigned Perry’s sentiments.
“Yeah. You know some people can come in and just sing, and then some people come in just let God come through them,” he replied. “And your dear friend over there, she was actually standing right next to you while you were singing. I felt every breath of that performance.”
Despite the praise, the constructive criticism was pointed towards Briggs’ vibrato.
“I need to be listening to more gospel, but I’m no expert,” said Bryan. “If I could shape and mold you where you don’t give us so much of that kind of staggered vibrato. I mean, you really lean on that a lot. You don’t have to do as much. I just don’t want that to become redundant to the listener.
Perry ultimately gave Briggs a “no,” while Lionel gave him a “yes.” That left Bryan as the deciding vote as to whether Briggs would move on to the next round. To sway Bryan, Briggs then performed a cover of “Tennessee Whiskey.”
“Yes, you’re going to Hollywood, I just got chills all over on that one,” Bryan said as he threw his pen down on the table.