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'American Idol': Burnell Taylor Raises The Bar With 'I'm Here' From 'The Color Purple' (VIDEO)

01/25/2013 04:51 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2013

Burnell Taylor hit the sweet spot for "American Idol" in Baton Rouge. The last performer of the day, and the episode, he brought with him a story of loss and a staggering talent. Burnell said he'd been singing since he was a tot -- three-years-old according to his mother -- but it wasn't until Hurricane Katrina that he realized the level of his talent.

His family lost everything in the storm and relocated to Baton Rouge. There, he found an even greater passion for music, and he brought it into the room with him. He performed "I'm Here" from "The Color Purple" and left the judging panel almost speechless.

Mariah Carey was in tears, while everyone agreed that he'd raised the bar for the competition and every other contestant they'd seen. Clearly, he quickly becomes an early favorite as he makes his way to Hollywood.

The auditions continues on "American Idol" on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.

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