Spartanburg’s Caleb Kennedy began his journey to the hit show American Idol through a Zoom call. The 16-year-old Dorman High School student was invited to audition in front of the judges – Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan – on Oct. 28, 2020, with the show’s producers. 

And so far, things have gone well for the young country crooner who fans say sings with the soul of an old man.

“I want my music to tell a story,” Kennedy has said. 

His songwriting has set him apart from other contestants and impressed the judges from the start. Kennedy sang his original “Nowhere” during his first audition in front of Richie, Perry and Bryan. 

Perry said in the audition, “You better finish that song “Nowhere” because that song is going to take you somewhere.”

Somewhere being straight to Hollywood after receiving the coveted golden ticket.

Here’s a rundown of how Kennedy has advanced to the Top 7 heading into Sunday’s airing at 8 p.m. on ABC: 

Advanced with performance of “Real Gone” from “Cars” soundtrack