WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Twenty-three-year-old Eric Ellis has waited years to say, "I am a contestant on the new season of ' American Idol .'"
After a two-year-long hiatus, the television powerhouse series premiered Sunday night on 9 On Your Side.
"Me and my family watched the show a lot growing up," Ellis said. "And we are all very musically inclined, so to kind of have this moment here for myself is kind of been a crazy ride for all of us."
When he was 15, Ellis auditioned for Idol in Pittsburgh, but this time, a producer called and asked him to come to Nashville to try again.
"It was such a crazy experience. There are so many other talented people you hear just warming up and you're just like, 'Wow! I'm here.'"
And there he was, smiling and singing some classic Bob Dylan in front of the "American Idol" judges.
"I walk in and Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryan are in front of me, and so that's like definitely a starstruck moment because they are all legends in their own right and just to be there, singing in front of them, was so surreal," Ellis said.
So, what did the judges say about his rendition of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"?
"I think they were definitely encouraging and gave me like some good critiques to work on for ... the future..."
Ellis can't and won't say if he continues on his " American Idol " journey, but if he makes it into the field of 24, we'll be there following his journey and rooting him on to an Idol victory.