'American Idol' auditions: Katy Perry tells San Francisco contestant he is 'Top 10' talent

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The next season of "American Idol" started on Sunday night and featured an incredible audition from a Bay Area native. Francisco Martin from San Francisco made it through an open call in San Jose back in 2019 and several elimination rounds before getting to audition for judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

From the promos we got a sneak peek of the 19-year-old's audition and the nervous entrance that made judges get up from their seats to calm him down.

Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie hugged him and told him to relax.

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"It's going to be OK," Bryan assured him.

Once they sat down, Francisco began his rendition of "Alaska" by Maggie Rogers while playing guitar.

The judges, especially Katy Perry, were so impressed, he got the golden ticket to Hollywood!

Perry even said he has "top 10" caliber talent.

ABC7 News got to speak to Martin a few hours ahead of the premiere who shared he didn't realize he was that nervous.

"The moment went by so fast," Martin said. "Lionel Richie was hugging me, Luke Bryan was taking my pulse. I was really nervous, and I was just like 'what's going on?' Like a lot of things were happening in my head, and right when I sang, everything just disappeared, I didn't know where I was. So I'm excited to watch tonight because I truly don't remember their reactions because everything was happening so fast."

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Martin grew up in a musical family playing drums, and branched out to singing and playing guitar. He says he would have never auditioned if it weren't for his parents.

"I was introduced to music through my dad during car rides," Martin said. "He would play his favorite music like Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles and that's how I got introduced to music and my love for music."

Martin hopes to work on more original songs and shares that audiences will get to hear one Sunday evening during the two-hour premiere.

"I love songwriting and I love music, I definitely want to branch out into my solo work and become a singer-songwriter, song write for other people."

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Martin will be hosting a watch party at home with his family and has a message for people watching:

"I'm not that much of a nervous person, so watching the audition tonight will be really funny because I'm not that nervous in general."

"American Idol" airs every Sunday at 8 p.m. PST on ABC.
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