Arkansas Songbird Earns Her Golden Ticket

Marybeth Byrd works as a disc jockey for the Mix 106.3 radio station in her hometown of Armorel, Ark. However, she has decided to make a career switch to becoming the next American Idol.

Does she have what it takes?

The 21-year-old country-pop singer auditioned in front of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan with the SteelDrivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” during the latest episode of the show, which aired on Sunday (March 5).

In a pre-recorded clip before her audition, Byrd explained why she decided to make the trip to Las Vegas to try and score a ticket to Hollywood.

“I love my hometown. I love the people I work with. But you know, to spread my wings, I feel like I’m gonna need to have that push to get me to the next level,” she explained. “I feel like being here in Las Vegas is me going for it.”

Inside the audition room, Byrd was accompanied by a guitarist and looked confident as she informed the celebrity panel she would be singing the SteelDrivers’ bluegrass song with some added “pop flair.”

By the first note, she had all three judges hooked.

Byrd’s raspy and smoke-filled vocals found Bryan and Richie energetically flailing their arms, not realizing they were making Perry nervous.

“Ow ow ow ow,” Perry said as Byrd continued to delight viewers and make her hometown steel community with a population of 300 people proud.

Afterward, judges stood up from their chairs and took turns sharing their remarks, with Richie going first.

“You opened your mouth, and it was correct. Perfect. Period,” Richie told Byrd, adding that she also showed her identity in song. “We were looking at each other going, ‘What is going on?’”

“People just have it. I’m talking about the first note. You had it,” Bryan added. “Everything about you has it, from the name to your presentation to the sound of some Arkansas blues and small town-ness going on. I mean. It’s authentic, and I see a very bright future.”

“This is why we go to the nooks and crannies and leave no American Idol unturned,” Perry added.

After all three judges shared their comments, Byrd received three yeses, which brings her one step closer to the Season 21 crown. The American Idol winner, named at the end of the season, will receive a cash prize and a record deal.

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The house features a library, a vaulted ceiling and lovely amenities throughout, but while it’s very nice, it’s certainly not the kind of home you’d picture for a budding country superstar. Underwood wound up being a huge success right out of the gate with her debut album, Some Hearts, and she sold the home in Franklin for $372,500 in 2007, when she purchased the Brentwood mansion that she would later share with her husband, Mike Fisher.

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