- The rapper showed up at the San Francisco auditions
- The judges liked what they saw
"My name is Kanye, I'm from the south side of Chicago," West says while introducing himself to the judges. "I'm originally a producer. I always wanted to rap and no one really believed in me, so I wanted to try some things out, ya know?" Kim Kardashian, watching the audition on a monitor alongside Ryan Seacrest, tells the Idol host, "I'm not really nervous because I do really believe in him. I didn't give any advice on singing, rapping. I just really believe in him."
Before launching into the audition, West tells the judges -- specifically Jennifer Lopez -- he chose "Gold Digger" because "it has one of the judges' names in it." After wrapping up the a cappella rendition, the judges don't even need to deliberate before quickly handing West his Golden Ticket to Hollywood Week; whether the rapper actually takes part in the next round remains to be seen.
"We were in San Francisco, and they said, 'We've got a contestant that's just going to jump into the line,'" Ryan Seacrest told E! News of the surprise audition. "And up walked Kim and Kanye—Kim pregnant and Kanye enthusiastic and ready to go in there. He walks in there and does a lyric about J.Lo from one of his songs."
The West audition is just one of the many surprises American Idol is promising in its farewell season, which will both crown a new victor as well as look back at all the talents the series unearthed.