‘American Idol': Nepalese Singer Arthur Gunn Wows Luke Bryan
American Idol rolled into 2020 with its season premiere on Sunday (Feb. 16), seeking the latest in talent via the judges' panel of R&B legend Lionel Richie, pop star Katy Perry and country singer Luke Bryan.
The premiere was filled with a diverse variety of contestants, with one of the most interesting showing up roughly halfway through the two-hour telecast. "My name is Dibesh Pokharel, and I go by the stage name called Arthur Gunn. And I was born in Nepal, Kathmandu," introduced the singer, who revealed he came to America after high school to seek opportunities...landing in Wichita, Kansas, where he developed a taste for a certain type of music.
"Living in Wichita really got me into, like, bluegrass and country," he explained. "I hadn't listened to those kinds of music before. But I was, like, pulled towards it, you know? It was like a magnet."
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When he arrived before the judges, Gunn provided his real name, to which Perry said "It means you are 'Di Best,'" riffing off his pronunciation. Gunn politely laughed that off, then delivered a Bob Dylan cover, "Girl from the North Country." which had all three judges silently nodding and looking reflective.
"Just give me another song, just to get a little more of an idea of what you do," urged Richie. Perry also added that she'd like to see him give more eye contact, and not look down at his guitar as much. To that, Gunn launched without hesitation into a smoky cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" giving the performance enough gravelly emotion to rival John Fogerty's original.
The judges watched, again, wide-eyed and mostly silent, with Richie and Bryan eventually high-fiving each other and Richie marveling an audible "Oh my gosh."
Bryan pulled no punches: "You want to open for me in Detroit, Michigan, in two weeks?" he offered. "We're just trying to set you up for global overtaking. What a unique artist you are," he raved.
"You are the story that we need to tell," marveled Richie. "I don't think we even need a vote. You are going to Hollywood!"
We'll be following American Idol all this season right here, so be sure to check in each week to see how your favorites are doing.
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