American Idol ushered in a new phase of the Season 20 competition on Sunday night (April 10). Twelve of the Top 24 contestants performed for America’s votes in Ko Olina, Hawaii, at Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa.

Of those 12 hopefuls was Mike Parker, who launched into Jimmie Allen’s “Best Shot" — but not without help from the country star himself. Unbeknownst to Parker, Allen had been brought in to mentor contestants, and when it was Parker’s turn to hear from the country star, things turned emotional.

“I’ve watched a lot of your interviews and how you perceived country music yourself,” Parker told Allen, adding that the artist has inspired him to pursue country music.

Surprised by Parker’s declaration and song selection, Allen said, “That song ... I was the first Black country artist with a No. 1 debut single. To have you singing that song now is so dope.”

“My mom used to always tell me, 'You’re not just doing this for you.' Hearing you telling me now how I’m your inspiration reminds me of my purpose,” Allen added.

With Parker on stage and Allen watching in the front row, the “Best Shot” performance turned out to be one to remember. Parker’s rendition of the tune saw him pouring out his heart and soul and showcasing his wide vocal range, enough to earn a few eyebrow raises from Luke Bryan.

“I got to sit back and really watch what we’ve been telling you to really start coming together. And then to see that [Jimmie Allen] is inspiring you and you guys get to meet, I mean, what a great moment you just had onstage. I could just enjoy the birth of you as an artist," Bryan told Parker afterward.

“I kept flashing back and forth between what you were experiencing and what I experienced. One of those guys in my life showed up. It was Kenny Rogers. I was in the audience, and he was on stage singing my song. I kept watching the two of you interact. I said, ‘There’s his Kenny.’ You're in the mindset, and having that guy you cherish the most watching you says it all. You did a great job,” Lionel Richie said of the connection that Parker and Allen share as artists.

“Mike, I think that this experience has helped you arrive. Finally, I think you have landed because it was all the things that we’ve been saying this whole season, all of those ingredients, they were found in that song. So congratulations, Luke is correct. We don’t need to critique you. We need to congratulate you,” Katy Perry said.

Contestants are now competing for America’s votes. Fans can vote at or Text 11 to 21523. Regardless of Parker’s fate in the competition, it’s clear he is already a winner in his own mind, as he has revealed his meeting with Allen was another “dream come true.”

American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays on ABC.

See American Idol Contestants Then and Now

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