Katy Perry Tears Up After ‘American Idol’ Contestant Suffers Seizure on Stage

The American Idol judges were faced with a scary situation on the Monday, March 23, episode when a 17-year-old contestant suffered a seizure on stage.

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During the Hollywood round, Makayla Brownlee was set to sing Kacey Musgraves’ song “Rainbow.” However, just as the music began playing, she nervously looked around and appeared to have trouble breathing. She then walked off the stage before collapsing to the ground.

Katy Perry immediately expressed concern and stood up from her seat. Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan followed suit and started walking over to Brownlee to check on her, but the “Never Worn White” singer, 35, urged them to “give her a little space” while EMTs tended to the Kansas native.

Katy Perry American Idol Katy Perry Breaks Down in Tears
Katy Perry on ‘American Idol.’ ABC/Eric McCandless

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After a commercial break, Brownlee and her father, Mark, explained to viewers that she was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope in the seventh grade. The rare condition can cause a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure, leading to fainting.

“It’s a heart condition that causes me to react to stress differently than other people, and it could cause a seizure,” the aspiring singer said.

Mark added, “She can’t control it. She’s embarrassed, but physically, she’s 100 percent all right. This opportunity is so important for her. I’d hate to see it inhibited in any way, because she’s such a good singer. She works so hard at it.”

Makayla Brownlee American Idol Katy Perry Breaks Down in Tears
Makayla Brownlee on ‘American Idol.’ ABC/Eric McCandless

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A few hours later, Brownlee surprised the judges when she returned to the stage to “try this again.” The second time around, she sat on a stool on stage, likely to help ease her nerves. Her performance moved Perry to tears and earned a standing ovation from all three judges and the other contestants in the audience.

“The stress this week has definitely been a lot harder on me than anything I’ve ever gone through,” Brownlee, who advanced to the Top 40, later told viewers. “There’s nothing I can do to prevent a seizure. When I’m stressed out, my body just reacts differently.”

Perry, for her part, showed support for the contestant via Twitter on Monday night, writing, “Nothing to be embarrassed about, #MakaylaBrownlee. We all handle stress differently. … So thrilled you were able to come back and sing for us and give us that perspective we need to be reminded of sometimes.”

American Idol airs on ABC Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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