By Sheyla Torres
A Long Islander is “going to Hollywood” on the 20th season of American Idol.
Christian Guardino, 21, of Patchogue, sang his heart out during his American Idol audition, which aired on ABC Sunday night. His performance of “A Song for You” by Donny Hathaway wow-ed music star judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryant and earned him a golden ticket to compete in the singing competition in Hollywood.
“I am here because I want to be a singer for the rest of my life,” Guardino said in an interview during the March 6 episode.
Guardino said he has been a fan of the show, which premiered in 2002, since he was a baby and has been singing since he was 9 years old. He also participated on NBC’s America’s Got Talent in 2017 when he was 16 years old.
As a baby, Guardino was diagnosed with Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a disorder that affects the retinas. When he turned 12, an experimental treatment called Gene Therapy allowed Christian to gain his sight again.
Guardino said he felt “honored and blessed” to have his big Italian family rooting for him. He greeted them on a video call after his performance; however, his mom was right by his side when all three judges said “yes” to him going to Hollywood.
After Christian’s performance, Lionel Richie stood up and hugged him, then invited his mother into the audition room.
“This one right here, he is touched by the hands from upstairs that give people voices and he has all of that magic,” said judge Luke Bryan.
“That kid right there is fabulous,” Lionel Richie added.
Fans can watch Patchogue resident Christian Guardino perform Sundays at 8 p.m. on American Idol or on his Facebook page to watch his videos and other performances.