Blown. Away. That was the judge's panel and the viewing audience when Burnell Taylor, a Louisiana native, closed tonight's (Jan. 24) Baton Rouge audition episode of 'American Idol' with a rousing and soulful rendition of 'I'm Here' from 'The Color Purple.'

He got a standing O and it was earned. Keith Urban made some insane, contorted faces, to show how much he loved it, while Mariah Carey cried over his "ridiculous" tone. She felt every word he sang.

Taylor just got served … with a compliment from Mimi! That's a big deal, yo!

Not to be outdone, Nicki Minaj topped her nemesis' critique, saying, "Everyone else auditioned. You entertained us."

She was right, though. Taylor's voice hit us so deep he reached marrow.

In his pre-performance package, Taylor revealed that he learned to sing after Hurricane Katrina decimated his home. His family lost everything, so they moved to Baton Rouge. "It happened, so you just have to live after that," he said about how he and his mama coped. What a wonderful attitude for such a talented man to have.

Again, the clever editing team set this up to be the underdog story. We were pulling for him before he ever even sang a note. But once he did, he exceeded our expectations.

Dare we say it? Burnell Taylor is one to watch. No. Questions. Asked.