Katy Perry was reduced to tears after an emotional performance by school shooting survivor Trey Louis on Sunday’s “American Idol” episode.
“I’m from Santa Fe, Texas, and in May 2018, a gunman walked into my school,” the young star-in-the-making told the judges after his performance. “I was in Art Room 1 and he shot up Art Room 2 before he made his way to Art Room 1.”
Before sharing his story, Louis belted out an emotional rendition of “Stone” by Whiskey Myers, and his performance seemed to immediately resonate with the panel of famous judges.
He went on to explain what sparked the passion behind his voice. “Lost a lot of friends. Eight students were killed. Two teachers were killed. It’s just really been negative, man,” Louis told judge Luke Bryan. “Santa Fe’s really had a bad rap here since 2018.”
Perry immediately reacted to the young contestant’s painful experience. “Our country has fucking failed us!” she yelled, burying her face in her hands.
“Facts,” Louis said, expressing agreement. (RELATED: Katy Perry’s Fashion Fail Made Her Fall On The ‘American Idol’ Stage)
Trey, man you have the perfect voice. You sing from the heart and we are really blessed you came to us. No child should have to live through what you did. Thank you for sharing your positivity with us and the world. #AmericanIdol
— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) February 27, 2023
Perry attempted to compose herself but was visibly affected by his story.
“This is not okay. 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,” she said. “I hope that you remind people that we have to change because, you know what, I’m scared too.”
“We have tolerated this for so long, for too long,” fellow judge Lionel Richie said. “It’s become the norm.”
The “American Idol” judges unanimously voted to move Louis to the next round, which will take him to Hollywood, and gave the aspiring singer a group hug before he walked off the stage.