Hunter Metts may have forgotten the words during his performance on American Idol, but it might have been his best move yet.
During Sunday's episode of the ABC competition show, the Tennessee native, 22, broke down in tears after forgetting the lyrics to his cover of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's "Falling Slowly" — and judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan had the best reaction.
"Hunter, that was the best performance you have ever given," Perry, 36, said shortly after Metts began crying. "Hunter, perfection is an illusion. It doesn't matter. That shows that you are human and vulnerable. It's amazing. It's emotional and that's what music is."
"I know this is a lot of pressure, but it's not about perfection it's about resonating with people and you just did," she continued. "What an incredible song choice. Listen, you connected with us. You kept your eyes open, your heart open. You were so connected that you forgot where you were and that is perfect."
And Richie and Bryan felt the same sentiment.
"Man, it was intense for me to watch you," said Bryan, 44. "It was a series of emotions. You took me on a crazy ride. I don't even know what happened at the end. But I didn't care. You could do no wrong in that moment."
Added Richie, "I'm going to give you what we've heard throughout our career. 'Oh my God, Lionel, I was there the night you forgot the lyrics to 'Hello'.' I thought it was the worst night of my life, but the crowd loved it. In fact, they didn't talk about my vocals, they talked about how I forgot the lyrics and the crowd took over. What I'm saying to you, if you had not done that, it was called a perfect run. Now that you did that, it was absolutely a perfect run."
After an emotional episode, America said goodbye to goodbye to Madison Watkins, Beane and Ava August. During Monday's episode, ten finalists from last season will perform for a spot in the Top 10.
American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.