American Idol's Ronda Felton Recalls Connecting With Idol Jennifer Hudson

Talk about a pinch-me moment! After sending the entire nation to tears last weekend following her incredible audition and moving story, American Idol's Ronda Felton joined Ryan Seacrest via Zoom on-air and recalled the surreal moment she connected with idol Jennifer Hudson.

Ronda, the 19-year-old Milwaukee native living in Phoenix who made even Lionel Richie cry with her now-viral audition, told Seacrest that because of the time difference, she was late to catch her audition on TV, but her phone was blowing up.

“Mountain time is very different from eastern time … so we’re still waiting right and I’m like, 'My phone is going off!' There’s a ton of people like texting me, calling me, … [and] I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, I know that name!’” Ronda recalled while scrolling through Instagram. “… I was like, ‘This is crazy! Jennifer Hudson knows who I am!’”

Ronda added the two then connected on IG and exchanged messages.

She also admitted Lionel Richie is also one of her idols, but she wanted to keep it cool while performing.

“I didn’t want to fangirl over him in the audition,” she hilariously shared.

Watch back the full interview in the video above to hear Ronda’s story and to learn the inspiring message she’s since learned about not being OK.

Catch American Idol on Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.