‘Idol’ judges say he has ‘one of the most unique voices’

If you teared up watching Sunday’s “American Idol,” we don’t blame you. 

One of the most impressive and heartfelt auditions of the ABC competition so far came from Wade Cota, a 27-year-old Phoenix native who stunned the judges with his deep, gravelly voice and soulful rendition of George Ezra’s “Blame It on Me.” 

The performance was bittersweet for Cota, who was accompanied by his mom, Teri, at the audition. He shared his heartbreaking backstory about his abusive dad, who cracked his skull and scarred his face as a child before his mom was able to leave him. 

“He was the devil. He beat us, he beat my mom,” Cota said. Even still, “I wouldn’t change anything. Nobody without a broken heart can write a song.” 

Cota went on to say that his mom is his motivation for doing music and that he left a job in sales a year ago to pursue his dream full time. The judges were in unanimous agreement that he has potential to be a star. 

“You’re really special,” Katy Perry said. “You have one of the most unique voices I’ve ever heard in my life – one of the most unique voices we’ve ever heard in our lives.”

“You have your own thing like Johnny Cash does,” Luke Bryan said. “I hear your voice, and I hear your voice in movie soundtracks.”

Lionel Richie praised Cota for his already-fully formed stage persona. 

“I was not expecting that other person to jump out of your body,” Richie said. “In this business, we look for the character and you brought me a character. And it’s an unusual character because it sounds like you.”


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