NEW YORK -- After a season opener that forced me and other fans to stock up on more tissues, the 'American Idol' auditions continue this Sunday night on ABC with more memorable, tear-generating moments.
The first such moment is an early release from 'Idol.' Jon Wayne Hatfield's audition song is dedicated to Ray, his grandpa and best friend.
The Goshen, Ohio native was raised by his grandparents. Three years ago, Jon's grandmother died and his grandfather stopped talking to him.
"After about a year and a half of not talking to me, he sat me down and told me he was gay," Jon explained.
"Jon was the last person I told because I was scared he would stop loving me," Ray explained.
For his audition, Jon performed the song that he wrote for his grandfather, "Tell Me Ray."
"It's a big relief to stand here and be proud and say I'm gay and there's nothing wrong with it," Ray says. "My grandson, he's my rock."
Among the contestants this week is Kaylin Hedges, a 15-year-old from New York who has been watching Idol since she was 3. She told WABC Eyewitness News entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon that the show inspired her to sing. Kaylin said the audition in Nashville took her out of her comfort zone.
"I was very nervous. I was shaking. I could feel my legs shaking," she said.
Kaylin dedicates her performance to her dad, who is stationed in Hawaii right now because he's in the Army.
"It's hard living away from him. It's not easy to not have that parental figure in your life. I wanted to sing it to him because I feel like he's been so supportive. He moved there so I could do this here," she explained.
Trey Louis, also known as "Trey from the Fe", brought another emotional story to the auditions in Las Vegas.
In 2018, Trey was in art class at Santa Fe High School in Texas when a gunman opened fire in the adjoining classroom. Trey credits student Christian Riley Garcia with blocking the door to the closet they were hiding in and saving his life.
Trey also lost one of his best friends, Chris Stone, that day and honored him during his Idol audition to him by singing the song "Stone" by Whiskey Myers.
Ashley Tankard, 19, of Durham, North Carolina has been trying out for Idol since she was 15, and she's hoping for a ticket to Hollywood this time around.
Caroline Kole moved from Florida to Nashville to pursue her musical dreams. Caroline told the Tampa Bay Times that she too has been watching 'American Idol' since she was little, and her very first concert - the first ever Idol winner Kelly Clarkson.
Earlier this week, Ryan Seacrest took us behind the scenes at the auditions in Las Vegas where you get a great sense of the drama, emotion, and FUN that happens behind the scenes with the judges and these aspiring performers. (Video in player above)
Watch the next episode of 'American Idol' on Sunday night at 8/7c and stream the next day on Hulu.