American Idol judges shocked by exuberant version of Dio's Holy Diver

Rach Karma singing on American Idol as Katy Perry looks baffled
Rach Karma performing on American Idol as Katy Perry looks flabbergasted (Image credit: ABC)

As unlikely as it may seem, TV talent show American Idol is now into its 21st series. That's more than CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Or ER. Or even Lassie.

Over the years, rock music has frequently taken a back seat on the show as the judges lean towards pop, r&b and country music, but occasionally there's a breakthrough. Former Axium singer David Cook won in 2008, and 2014 winner Caleb Johnson is currently performing with Meat Loaf's old backing band Neverland Express.

One of the latest singers to challenge the traditional American Idol hegemony is 28-Rach Karma, singer with two Connecticut bands, symphonic gothic death metal act NEVERMØUЯИ and covers band Evil Twin. It's the latter that Karma turned to for inspiration for her American Idol audition, performing Dio's classic Holy Diver for the judging panel of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and country music's Luke Bryan.

Karma's performance is a little ragged, and the backing guitar sounds like a flatulent child breaking wind in the bath, but she approaches the task with no small amount of enthusiasm and commitment. 

The judges, sadly, are less enthusiastic. Lionel Richie clearly enjoys Karma's audition, but Perry looks flabbergasted and Bryan reacts as if hearing such music for the first time. "I'm gonna go search what Holy Diver is," he later says. 

Thankfully there's a silver lining, in which Lionel Richie details an unexpected friendship.

"I have not heard that song in 100 years!" says Richie, as Perry looks at him with something approaching disgust. "I'm a big fan of rock'n'roll. I know this may sound kinda strange, but Rob Zombie happens to be one of my dearest friends." 

Tragically, Karma failed her audition. But on the bright side, NEVERMØUЯИ's latest single Release The Demons is out now. You can hear it below. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.