Friends and family of Science Hill graduate Brielle Rathbun poured into Wild Wing Café in downtown Johnson City on Sunday night to watch the 18-year-old appear on American Idol.
The hundreds in attendance were thrilled to see Rathbun on national television, but the icing on the cake came when celebrity judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan unanimously voted her into the next round of the competition after hearing her rendition of “Gravity,” a song made famous by Sara Bareilles. Prior to her performance, Rathbun – who teaches classes and does choreography at Trinity Arts Center – gave country star Luke Bryan an impromptu dance lesson at the behest of Perry.
In its 16th season, American Idol has launched the careers of several successful recording stars, including Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Jordin Sparks. After Sunday’s triumph, Rathbun still had to survive a gauntlet of auditions and cuts in Hollywood. That portion of Rathbun’s journey will be televised on ABC this week.