The first night of the Showstopper round kicked off on American Idol Sunday as Hollywood Week's 64 contestants sang their hearts out for a spot in the top 24. One of the first cuts was the deepest, when the show stopped for singer-songwriter Murphy, who was celebrating his 28th birthday.
Murphy's backstory in itself is heartbreaking. The singer was born half-blind and lost both of his parents at a young age. "My vision is substantially worse than the average person. My left eye is gone and my right eye is going, due to a form of degeneration. I’m expected to lose sight at maybe mid-thirties," shared Murphy.
Murphy admitted that, while Idol has been a wonderful experience, it has also been a challenge for his sight. "The stage lights, they’re so bright, so it’s a lot to take in," explained Murphy. "In that moment, I know that I'm damaging my eye. I'm hurting it, and I can feel the pain."
Luke Bryan and Katy Perry were the ones to deliver Murphy’s rejection in person. At first Katy commended Murphy’s performance, and he wore a hopeful mile-wide smile. But as Katy then advised Murphy to get more experience, the glow drained from his face, his clutched protectively at his chest as if wounded, and his birthday celebration was over. This was the show’s typical bait-and-switch approach.
Viewers were extremely upset with the judges over Murphy's elimination, and thought it was a big mistake cutting him. One person simply tweeted: "Murphy was ROBBED." However, Murphy maintained his humility, as he stated, "I wanted to hear a yes, but I also wanted to hear a no if it was honest. You just might not hit the mark every time. And that's okay. And I feel driven just as I had when I walked in that door the first time. Because at the end of the day, I'm going to achieve my goal. And it's my birthday. I'm happy. I'm here, you know? I'm alive, and I'm well. What 'no' can ruin that?"