Last night an American Idol contestant, Burnell Taylor, brought Mariah Carey to tears during his audition.

Prior to his audition, the 19-year-old New Orleans native opened up backstage about how and he and his family lost everything during Hurricane Katrina.

“I realized I knew how to sing after Katrina,” he said. “I stayed, I witnessed it. I seen all this water around us and I was like, ‘you know, we in here. How we gonna get out?’”

Burnell brought down the house with his rendition of “I’m Here” from the Broadway production of The Color Purple, and earned him a standing ovation from the judges.

“Burnell made me cry!” Carey said as she wiped her eyes, adding, “Every single word you sang –  just spectacular.”

“That wasn’t even an audition,” Nicki Minaj exclaimed. ”That was entertainment for us.”

What do you think about Burnell’s moving audition?

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC