Kaibrienne Richins was visibly nervous at the start of her “American Idol” audition.

Standing just several feet away from judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, the 20-year-old looked at the floor, shook both of her arms and let out a deep sigh.

And then she began to sing with determination.

The singer, who is from Henefer, Utah — a place she described to the judges as “in the middle of nowhere, honestly” (with a population under 1,000) — belted out a raspy rendition of Zach Bryan’s “Something in the Orange” that showed how badly she wanted to make it to the next round of the competition in Hollywood. As she sang, the judges gave each other knowing smiles and nods.

“From the first note, I had like full body wave of chills. I liked even how you just kind of shook it out, you hacked up something and started singing,” Bryan said with a laugh following the performance. “The coolest thing is you’re 20 from a little old small town in Utah. You have it, so great job.”

“I think you have a real unique tone about you, and it’s very special.” Perry added, noting that Richins may need some help fine-tuning it in the competition. “But that is the special sauce that people have to have when they’re forming who they are as an artist.”

And while Richie said he’s heard “Something in the Orange” countless times, he praised Richins for a delivery that made her rendition stand out above the rest.

“That was your song,” he said. “I love what you did.”

Richins was all smiles as she took in the praise and received a golden ticket to Hollywood from Bryan. As she left the room, her dad, who she called one of her biggest supporters, stood outside the door ready to greet her with a hug. When he saw the ticket, he began to jump up and down.

“I knew it! I knew it!”

Related
His ‘American Idol’ audition went viral. Now, this teen is the Season 21 winner
A voice, a guitar and why my shot at ‘American Idol’ proves dreams can come true, sort of

More about Kaibrienne Richins on ‘American Idol’

Richins has long been a fan of “Idol,” and said she and her father watched this past season of the competition “religiously.” As they watched from the couch, her dad encouraged her to try out — but Richins had serious doubts.

“I’ve never been confident enough in myself or believed in myself enough to do it,” she told the judges during her audition. “I think I’m a little bit too hard on myself a lot of the times.”

In a clip that aired before her audition, Richins shared that she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease when she was in the fourth grade, and enduring that disease has been a challenge over the years.

“It’s a thyroid disease that’s super painful and when it flares up, it’s just crazy mood swings,” she said. “It’s so bad.”

“It’s been a struggle to see the most beautiful girl in the world, who I know has more potential in her finger than I will ever have, struggle to regulate her emotions,” her father said with emotion. “She can be going from ‘this is the best thing in the world’ to turning her head towards you and saying she wants to die.”

Related
‘American Idol’ winner Iam Tongi is coming to Utah — and releasing new music
‘Don’t leave the competition’: Despite pleas from the judges, this singer dropped out of ‘American Idol’

Richins’ father shared that singing became an outlet for his daughter. They would go on drives and film videos of Richins and her sister singing. As the videos began to gain traction online, Richins started to see how performing and, even more specifically, trying out for “Idol,” maybe wasn’t too wild of an idea.

As she finally got her moment in front of the “Idol” judges, Richins’ dad stood outside the room talking to host Ryan Seacrest.

“She deserves it, she really does,” he said as he waited for the outcome.

When Richins emerged from the door with a big smile on her face, the father and daughter hugged and became visibly emotional as they held the golden ticket in the air.

“They all believe in me in a way that I’ve never believed in myself,” Richins told Seacrest after her audition. “That just meant so much.”