Jimmie Allen’s Glorious Journey from ‘American Idol’ to Country Music Fame

American Idol’s 2022 Live Shows are fast approaching and this week, the Top 24 are battling for a spot in the Top 20, with dreams of making it to the Top 14 and the live shows. To help the judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan with their decisions are some big names in the world of music, including Jimmie Allen and Bebe Rexha.

On the Sunday, April 10 episode, Jimmie Allen was reduced to tears after contestant Mike Parker performed his hit song “Best Shot” and shared that Allen inspired him to pursue country music as a Black artist.

Allen is no stranger to the world of American Idol, after auditioning for the show once before and since then has made a glorious journey from American Idol to country music fame.

Born in 1985 in Milton, Sussex County, Delaware, Allen moved to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a career in music.

At first, he struggled to make a name for himself on the music scene and fell on hard times, at one point living out of his car.

He first auditioned for America’s Got Talent, before having more success with American Idol.

Allen appeared on American Idol Season 10 back in 2011, performing the Maroon 5 hit “Sunday Morning” for his audition.

During his time in the competition, he performed with Colton Dixon and became close friends with Scotty McCreery, who went on to win the competition overall.

Unfortunately, Allen did not make the live shows and was eliminated before securing a spot in the Top 24. However, American Idol did play a big role in shaping his career.

For example, when 2011 winner McCreery went on tour with his debut album, Allen toured alongside him as the opening act.

He then signed with Broken Bow Records in 2017, releasing his first single “Best Shot” in 2018 which peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Best Shot” was eventually certified platinum and he released his debut album “Mercury Lane” in 2018.

jimmie allen american idol
Jimmie Allen performing on American Idol 2022.
ABC/Karen Neal

Allen released “This Is Us”, a duet with Noah Cyrus in 2020, and “Freedom Was a Highway” with Brad Paisley.

He won the Country Music Association Award for New Artist of the Year in 2021, the first Black artist to win the award since Darius Rucker back in 2009.

He was nominated at the 2022 Grammy for Best New Artist, the first American Idol alum since Carrie Underwood to be nominated.

The 2022 season is not the only time Allen has returned to American Idol. He appeared in Season 19 last year to duet alongside contestants Alanis Sophia and Cecil Ray.

On Sunday April 10’s episode, 27-year-old Mike Parker, a carpenter from Warrenton, Virginia, admitted Allen was one of his biggest inspirations.

He shared: “His journey is what inspires millions of people that look like me” before going on to perform one of Allen’s songs “Best Shot”, not knowing Allen would be serving as a guest mentor.

Before Parker performed, Allen joked: “You’re going to sing that terrible song?”

After Parker’s performance, Allen commented: “That song, I was the first Black country artist to start off in the country and launch a career with a debut number one. To have you sing that song right now, bro, is so dope.”

He continued: “My mom would also tell me ‘you are not just doing this for you'”, holding back tears.

“For him to tell me that I mean to him what Charley Pride meant to me, it’s more than I could have asked for. So thank you and thank you for continuing what me, Charley, Mickey, Kane, and Darius want to see in this genre of music. So thank you,” Allen said.

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American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC

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