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Starkville high schooler Jennifer Jeffries wows judges during ‘American Idol’ Hollywood week

Jennifer Jeffries rocked the Idol stage on Sunday night with her "You Were a Child." (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Hollywood week is underway for season 22 of American Idol, and one Mississippian is looking to secure a spot in the next round.

Jennifer Jeffries, a high schooler out of Starkville, took the stage on Sunday night with her original, “You Were a Child.” Within seconds, all three judges were wowed with Luke Bryan telling Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, “Oh, that’s great.”

Prior to the performance, Jeffries opened up about her songwriting and why she believes she could be the next American Idol.

“The reason I believe I could be the next American Idol is because music itself has saved me,” Jeffries said. “And the purpose of my writing and singing is for me to help other people the way it’s helped me.”

The 17-year-old who has a voice reminiscent of Jade Castrinos with more of an Of Monsters and Men style told the judges that some of her siblings have struggled with mental health, and that’s one of the reasons she started writing.

“I come from a family of nine kids. I am the youngest. 14 nephews and nieces. It’s a big family, but I love it. They are just so good to me,” Jeffries said. “But music is my everything. When I’m playing music, that’s my therapy session … It’s about watching some of my siblings struggle with mental health and the effect it has on them and me.

“I’ve just seen a lot of people close to me deal with anxiety and depression, and you know, the fear of losing someone that you love so much kind of haunts you a little bit.”

American Idol returns on Monday night for what will be the largest cut in the show’s history with this year’s group being narrowed down to 24. Showtime is at 7 p.m. CT on ABC.

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