The 16-year-old made headlines when she was just 11, long before her American Idol audition, for a highly ridiculed performance of the National Anthem at a nationally televised soccer game.
But Sunday night (March 11), during the season premiere of Idol on ABC, the Texas teenager was showered with praise after performing an original country song on guitar about having a yard sale following a heartbreak. She also gave her take on Khalid‘s “Young, Dumb and Broke,” and she got a ticket to Hollywood from all three Idol judges.
Jonathan George recaps what happened after the National Anthem. “I began working with Harper when she was 11 years old, shortly after being named the Worst National Anthem Ever. If you look up the worst national anthem, you will find Harper right at the top. She had just destroyed the National Anthem in front of 80,000 screaming fans. The accumulation of 80K blowing kazoos throwing her off pitch as well as the delay in the stadium created a recipe for disaster. No one had prepared her for the delay or the loud instruments. It took her 3 minutes to sing a 90 second song all while singing it in the wrong key. This would destroy most anyone. She was broken, bullied and scared. But she showed up and we began to work. One of the biggest things is that we worked on her story. We worked on how to take such a negative experience, own it and then use it to benefit her. It was difficult for her at first but once she owned it and gained confidence in how she presented it, she grew confident in her story. It became a sense of pride that she overcame this situation and is pressing on.”
As she appeared so beautifully on American Idol 2018 and in front of millions of viewers, they told her story of tragedy to triumph.
Watch this amazing performance.