The new 2019 season of American Idol premiered Monday night (March 3), featuring the familiar judging panel of Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and host Ryan Seacrest. The evening kicked off with a couple of country music stalwarts, not the least of which happened to be a stunning vocalist from Livingston, Texas.

Laci Kaye Booth, 23, introduced herself right off the bat as a country singer. "I started singing when I was about 3 years old," she noted. "I grew up on Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks."

The young country fan had a tumultuous family arrangement in her early days, however: "My dad was 15 and my mom was 17 when they found out they were gonna have me. They lived in a little, tiny house. My dad was singing and off being a musician. I know it was hard on them." Her parents ended up divorcing when Booth was just 3 years old.

The separation, as well as a creative career path, resulted in Laci's dad not being around as much as he'd like as his daughter grew up. As Booth explained, her dad was just not able to be there much of the time. "He would call me, and he'd say, 'I'm sorry, baby, that I have to live this life.'"

Booth questioned her father's absence as she began to grow older. Happily, her dad also felt a need to reach out. "When I was about 15, my dad asked me if I wanted to go record in Arkansas," Booth noted. "And so we took a road trip... We really shared our music interest. That's what started us becoming closer again."

She added, "Music really made up for that lost time, and it means the world to me, because I couldn't ask for a better family, a better support system."

With that, Booth proceeded to blow the judges away with a lilting performance of one of Merle Haggard's most beloved classics, 1968's "Mama Tried." The panel appeared stunned by her performance, with Perry calling her a "diamond in the rough" and Bryan raving, "You just slayed it." Richie cautioned her to not "get psyched out by everybody else's thing," to which she responded with a southern girl's proper "Yes sir." Needless to say, this Texan is on her way to Hollywood.

Keep checking in weekly, as we'll be chronicling these hopefuls' journeys to the top, with a focus on country music offerings!

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