Credit: Fox

For her X Factor audition, 24-year-old Ashly Williams took on arguably the biggest ballad in the biz and boy, did she hit it out of the park. Performing “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, Ashly’s tear-jerking performance got a standing ovation from the audience and four resounding yeses from the judges. Simon Cowell even mouthed the word “wow” midway through! You’ve got that right, Cowell!

To make her audition all the more memorable, Ashly shared the tragic story of her mother’s murder. Only a teenager at the time, Ashly said the day she heard the news was the worst of her life. It’s easy to imagine she had her mom in mind while singing those iconic lyrics on the X Factor stage.

“You know, it’s so funny you saying ‘thank you’ to everybody. And it’s beautiful and it’s humbling, but thank you, baby girl, for spilling your heart out in that vocal,” judge Kelly Rowland said after Ashly finished her audition.

Paulina Rubio was “captivated” by her “amazing performance” while Demi Lovato was “speechless” and had “chills all over” her arms and legs. Simon, meanwhile, told Ashly what she’s been waiting to hear. “You know what, Ashly? This is why we brought the show to America: to find somebody like you.” Tears, you guys, the tears!

Do you think Ashly will keep the momentum going and make the Top 16?

If you want to find out for sure — check out our Top 16 spoilers here!


Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!