Queer American Idol contestant Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, the gay pastor’s son whose emotional first audition went viral — gave an emotional performance of “Who Wants to Live Forever” during last night’s Queen tribute show, one that secured him a spot in the top six. For the first time this season, Harmon had his parents supporting him in the audience — the same parents who have struggled with accepting his queerness.
The judges were effusive in their praise for Harmon’s performance. “You really embodied the spirit of Freddie Mercury with that performance,” said Idol judge Katy Perry. “It was like you froze time, it was so beautiful. It was so beautiful seeing you perform in front of your parents for the first time and it’s so wonderful to see your journey.”
Fellow judge Luke Bryan added that Harmon continues to “spoil” the judges. “It was such an emotional ride and you have a real knack for that. It was a complete journey that built and built and built, and then you just took it to the next level. I loved every second of it.”
“You take the band to the next level. That means you’re really doing something powerful,” added guest judge Lionel Richie. “Your voice is something to be reckoned with.”
Host Ryan Seacrest turned the spotlight on Harmon’s parents, asking them what they thought of their son’s performance.“That was very powerful,” said his a father, a pastor who Harmon said was initially not supportive of his sexuality. “It’s another great performance. I’m not very objective, but I think he’s the best one here.”
In an interview with Out, Harmon said that the way his relationship with his parents had been portrayed on the show was not exactly realistic. “I've never said that my parents have rejected me, or don't accept me as me, their son,” he explained. “And that in combination with my parents not being able to make it to the first couple performances and [not being] featured on the show yet, you know, it's easy for people to take that and run with it … in reality, they're just trying to integrate this experience and they're processing it in their own way.”
Will Harmon’s talent and the emotional resonance of his story take him all the way to the top? The odds are looking pretty good.