'American Idol': Katy Perry Breaks Down Over School Shooting Survivor's Audition
American Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan were left stunned by an audition from Trey Louis, a survivor of the 2018 Santa Fe, Texas school shooting. Louis, 21, performed a cover of Whiskey Myers' "Stone," which easily earned him a spot in the next round during Sunday night's episode. However, it was his recollection of the shooting that brought Perry to tears.
When Louis walked out in front of the judges, he and Bryan had some fun talking about growing up in the South. Then, he performed "Stone," which immediately impressed the judges. After singing, Louis explained that the shooting inspired him to go on American Idol. He wanted to bring a positive light to his hometown.
"I'm from Santa Fe, Texas, and in May 2018, a gunman walked into my school. I was in Art Room 1 and he shot up Art Room 2 before he made his way to Art Room 1," Louis explained. "Lost a lot of friends. Eight students were killed. Two teachers were killed. It's just really been negative, man. Santa Fe's really had a bad rap here since 2018."
Bryan started to praise Louis' singing abilities, but that was when Perry just broke out in tears. "Our country has f—ing failed us," she said. "This is not OK. You should be singing here because you love music. Not because you had to go through that... You didn't have to lose eight friends. I hope that you remind people that we have to change because, you know what, I'm scared too."
Richie agreed. "We have tolerated this for so long, too long. It's become the norm," the singer said. The three judges unanimously agreed to send Louis to the next round in Hollywood before giving him a group hug.
Santa Fe High School was the site of a school shooting on May 18, 2018. Eight students and two teachers were fatally shot, and 13 others were wounded. A 17-year-old student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was charged with 10 counts of capital murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Pagourtzis' trial was delayed again earlier this month after a Galveston County judge ordered him to spend 12 more months at a state-run mental health institution because he remains incompetent to stand trial.
Louis tried out for Idol after gaining attention on TikTok. He shared videos of himself singing while working at a Mattress Firm store. He told 12 News Now that Idol producers reached out to him after they saw one of his videos. "You could say I was a survivor," Louis said earlier this month. "I was in the art room where everything kind of went down at, and after that is really where I found music because I gained anxiety and I gained depression because of those events." American Idol airs on ABC Sundays at 8 p.m. ET and streams the next day on Hulu.