On the fifth round of auditions for Season 2 of American Idol, judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan are treated to a performance by Jackson Gillies. It’s not his first time singing in front of notable judges. At 16, Gillies won Teen Star 2016. Since then he’s been performing with musicians including his mentor Kenny Loggins. Now the 19-year-old from Santa Barbara is looking for a Golden Ticket to Hollywood on American Idol.
In 2013, Gillies was diagnosed with the auto-inflammatory disease hidradenitis suppurativa, which is commonly referred to as HS. It’s associated with the lymphatic system and causes painful abscesses on the skin. Gillies says he controls his HS with an “elimination diet.” He’s eliminated foods from his diet which trigger abscesses – wheat, dairy, spices. “The abscesses [can] get so big — I had one under my armpit the size of a tennis ball.” Gillies keeps a good sense of humor about his condition while spreading awareness. “Karl Marx is the only person in history who I’ve found who has talked about it.” American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 pm on ABC. [BONUS: Stream any ABC show through the ABC GO Digital App found here. Download is FREE.]