Kaylin, a 15-year-old high school student from Pound Ridge, NY, wowed American Idol's judges in Nashville, TN, with her rendition of "I'm Already There" by Lonestar, which she dedicated to her father, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Hedges, who was stationed overseas in the military.
Kaylin received the judges' second Platinum Ticket of the season, which allowed Kaylin to skip a whole day of the grueling Hollywood Week, which already filmed.
Katy, Luke and Lionel gave Kaylin a standing ovation for her performance, and Lionel blurted out, "Fifteen! I don't believe it."
"That big ol' voice in that small body?!" Katy gushed.
Luke shared, "You did a great job. To be 15 and to be navigating like you are... [like] your falsetto. I got a little scared because you were using falsetto a lot, and then I was like, 'Oh no, she's not going to be able to go big.' But then, 'Oh! She just went big! She's got a big voice."
Katy agreed of Kaylin, "She went real big!"
Before the judges voted, they played a pre-recorded video message from Kaylin's father, who told his daughter that he loved her and was proud of her.
"I know I've missed many holidays and birthdays and major life events for you. But I just want you to know that no matter where I am, I'm already there. So take a look around," Jeffrey said in the video, quoting lyrics from Kaylin's audition piece.
As Kaylin got emotional, her father walked out and surprised her in-person.
"Oh my god! Stop! Dad!" Kaylin hugged before hugging her dad tightly. "What the actual heck?!"
The judges then welcomed Kaylin's mother into the room so she could also reunite with her husband.
"We've decided to take this up another notch," Katy announced to Kaylin's family.
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"Everybody's been walking out with a Golden Ticket, but there's one Platinum Ticket. Only one person in each city gets the Platinum Ticket, and we've decided that you're getting the Platinum Ticket."
Katy explained of the Platinum Ticket, "It means you're going to Hollywood and you get to sit it out for the first round!"
Katy then told Jeffrey that she hoped she raises her daughter so that she'll one day speak about her the same way Kaylin had spoken about her father.
"I'm overwhelmed," Jeffrey said of Kaylin, getting choked up.
The judges then announced that Kaylin would be going to Hollywood.
In Kaylin's intro package that aired before her audition, she explained of her family background, "I've loved music ever since I was tiny. I used to sing at all the county fairs, and from that, I started discovering, like, 'Oh, I really this.' My parents took notice of that, and they started to realize how many opportunities are in places like New York."
In order to move his family to New York and ensure his daughter could pursue a music career, Jeffrey had to deploy "to dangerous places" as a member of the Army, according to his daughter.
"He did it, and we got there. I don't get to see my dad very often... He's had to miss a lot of things. He's had to miss my birthday nine years in a row. It can be hard, but it's okay. He's coming back next year, so it will be okay," Kaylin said before the heartfelt reunion with her dad took place on American Idol.
"Getting a Golden Ticket would just solidify that all the sacrifices weren't for nothing. It would mean a lot," she said.
American Idol's judges gave their first Platinum Ticket to Tyson Venegas, a 17-year-old high school student from Vancouver, BC in Canada, during last week's episode. He had auditioned in Las Vegas.
American Idol's 21st season kicked off with the show's first-ever "America's Platinum Ticket" late last year.
During the "American Music Awards" broadcast on November 20, three American Idol audition clips aired.
Elijah McCormick, Matt Wilson and Haven Madison each performed for the judges in pre-recorded footage, and then fans were given 24 hours to vote for their favorite among the three singers.
Elijah, a North Carolina resident who auditioned in Nashville and sang "God Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts, ultimately won the vote. He was therefore awarded America's Platinum Ticket and sent off to Hollywood Week.
Elijah's victory was announced via American Idol's official Instagram page on December 4.
"Congratulations to America's Platinum Ticket WINNER @musicbyelijahmc! Follow his entire journey when #AmericanIdol premieres Feb. 19 on ABC!" the caption read.