Somerset Mom’s Viral TikTok Launches Berkley Singer to Hollywood
It was a big night on the big stage Sunday as "American Idol" judges sent Berkley native Delaney Renee Wilson through to Hollywood.
Golden ticket in hand, Wilson was accompanied by her employer and friend Nicki Maher, a Somerset mom and social media influencer who used her platform to boost Wilson to the top.
Now, Wilson's dreams are becoming a reality.
Maher tells Fun 107 that a viral TikTok of Wilson singing truly brought out her vocal abilities only because Wilson thought no one was listening and was therefore much more comfortable singing.
"She's got a voice that's amazing," Maher said. "She didn't know I was recording. She wasn't performing for anyone. She was just singing with my daughter in the basement. The door was shut and had no idea that my son and I could hear her. It sounded like a movie was playing loudly in the background, so I recorded her so she could hear herself through a different lens as if she was dancing like no one is watching."
Did Wilson have any prior singing or vocal lessons?
"She's in school for music; she's always had a voice," Maher said. "She performed at the Somerset Open Air Market, performing with her boyfriend Dalton, who also goes to Berklee (College of Music), and was the one playing the guitar for her performance on 'American Idol.'"
The social media mom hired Wilson to babysit through the help of references. The first song she performed for Maher was "What About Us" by P!nk.
"I was at the sink and I literally was looking out the window with tears in my eyes," Maher said. "I told her I peeked at her social before hiring her and it doesn't represent anything that I heard in comparison to where I think she could be with her singing."
When asked why she's doesn't post more of her singing, Wilson said she gets insecure about her looks and the way she sounds.
"I told her that I had a large mom audience that 'will cheer you on from the rooftops; your voice is amazing,'" Maher said.
Maher accompanied Wilson to Nashville where auditions were being held for Season 20 of "American Idol" and was surprised when they actually brought her onto the set to chat with the judges and host Ryan Seacrest about Wilson.
"I had no idea that was going to happen," Maher said. "They started miking me up and handed me an iPad with a video pre-loaded on it and was told not to do anything except press play when the time comes.
"So, I walked up to Ryan Seacrest and played him the famous TikTok video that gave Delaney the leg up she needed. It was surreal, it was beautiful, and it meant just as much to me as it did to Delaney. I'm a mom by nature, a cheerleader for people, and to be in that moment watching her and others follow their dream, I had ugly mom tears throughout the day."
The road to 'Idol' is long, but worth every minute.
After filming, sitting in a room, warming up her voice, and staying hydrated, Wilson was one of the last of the day to audition.
"We started at 6 a.m. and she didn't audition until 8-9 p.m. almost," Maher said. "But you sit there and grind it out because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Wilson's family might not have been present, but the support was strong and well-received miles away.
"Idol tells you who you're bringing, and because of the storyline, they invited me and Dalton to play guitar," Maher said. "The American Idol '180 room' surrounds you by a big screen, and after Delaney performed and got the golden ticket, her entire family was there to surprise her."
It's not certain when Wilson will appear on national TV in front of the "American Idol" audience, so in the meantime, we'll have to just wait patiently.
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