Pop star Katy Perry and a 19-year-old girl from Kingstree had a lot more in common than either of them realized.
That was brought to light during an "American Idol" audition that aired March 3, in which Kalifa Wilson (who goes by "Kai the Singer") shared her back story before performing in front of the music reality TV show's judges Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
Wilson grew up moving between shelters, even homeless at one point. Her family's church, St. Michael Baptist in New Zion, had bought her first guitar. Additionally, they had raised the money to send her to the "American Idol" audition.
Perry said her first guitar was also purchased by her former church congregation. The judge teared up when she made that connection.
“You’ve just got such a beautiful soul,” she said, wiping away tears. "You’re an inspiration to so many people by getting here today."
“Oh no, Katy, now one of us has got to be strong here,” Wilson managed to joke between tears.
During an interview with The Post and Courier, Wilson added, "I was like, 'Is she allowed to cry?' I didn’t know (we) had anything in common. You never know."
Wilson first performed an Ed Sheeran song while playing guitar, but she was shaky after crying while telling her story. The judges gave her a second chance, and she moved to the piano, performing a rendition of "My Girl" by The Temptations, in which she replaced the lyric "my girl" with "music."
It was enough to warm all of the judges' hearts.
“When you got on the piano, it truly started stirring many, many emotions in me,” added Bryan. “And, quite frankly, I don’t know how kids like you, I don’t know how you pony up and make it here.”
She got a golden ticket, guaranteeing her a spot in Hollywood.
“When your dream depends on how much money you have, there’s not much you can do," Wilson said, while holding her golden ticket. "But this just proves it all wrong."