It was emotional Mother’s Day for the American Idol contestants on Sunday, with most of them quarantining at home with their families and serenading their moms with special dedications. Mom-to-be judge Katy Perry, watching remotely from her Los Angeles living room, maintained her composure throughout most of the episode, but she started to hormonally sob once she witnessed the tight bond between Julia Gargano and Julia’s doppelgänger mother, Jeanne. (“It’s a relationship I look forward to having with my own daughter,” Katy said, dabbing her eyes.) Other heartstring-yanking moments came when Just Sam — who’s been going through a tough time, isolated thousands of miles from her loved ones — broke down talking about her mother in prison, or when Jonny West, who’s been in self-isolation with girlfriend/fellow Idol contestant Margie Mays in L.A., surprised his mom in Murrieta, Calif., where he’ll be spending the rest of this Idol season (and presumably the rest of quarantine).
But as two other contestants, Dillon James and Francisco Martin, presented their supportive moms with from-the-heart Mother’s Day letters, that’s when Katy truly lost it. And surely so did America’s viewers — especially any parents out there whose children have battled addiction or depression.
Dillon, who’s been sober for more than two years now, has been extremely frank this season about his rock-bottom struggles, and as his mother Lindy noted Sunday, she has struggled by his side. “It wasn’t just a journey that he took for the last five years; I was on it with him. I saw the very lows, and I’ve seen how far he’s come,” she said somberly. As Lindy sat next to Dillon on the sofa in the James family’s Bakersfield home, she confessed that she was “nervous” as she read aloud her son’s humble words of gratitude.
“I’m writing this letter to the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known in my life,” Dillon’s letter began. “You are my best friend, the person I can tell anything to, my other half. You have always been a real mother to me, but I have not always been a true son to you. You’ve guided me back to myself to a new life, and that I can never repay. But I can start by being the son you always deserved. I love you more than anything, and I just wanted you to know you saved my life. You saved me. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.”
After Dillon tenderly crooned Amos Lee’s “Hang On, Hang On” while his stoic family watched on, a verklempt Katy praised him for making the performance all about his mother. And judge Luke Bryan remarked, “I can’t imagine how many sleepless nights [your mother has] had, and her love got you through it.”
Francisco Martin, who has been equally open about his mental health issues — including his anxiety, which has understandably worsened during the pandemic — also shared a touching moment with his “superwoman” mother Fatima, a nurse, to whom he dedicated “River” by Leon Bridges.