School Shooting Survivor Trey Louis Stuns ‘American Idol’ Judges with Moving Audition

Trey Louis brought all the emotion he could muster to his season 21 audition on American Idol on Feb. 26. His soulful rasp filled the room with his moving rendition of Whiskey Myers‘ 2016 song “Stone,” a touching tribute to one of Louis’ best friends, Chris Stone, who was killed during a school shooting at his high school in 2018.

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Following his audition, Louis received a standing ovation from judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, who compared the young singer to Chris Stapleton. (Coincidentally, Louis went viral on TikTok in 2022 when his cover of Stapleton’s 2020 song “You Should Probably Leave” received nearly three million views.)

The 21-year-old mattress salesman based in Santa Fe, Texas shared his story of surviving the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left eight students and two teachers dead. Days after the tragic event on May 18, 2018, Louis also chronicled his experience in a detailed post on his Instagram page.

“A gunman walked into my school,” Louis shared with the judges. “I was in art room one, and he shot up art room two before he made his way to art room one … lost a lot of friends.”

Perry started crying and buried her face in her hands as she listened to Louis. “Our country has failed us,” said Perry. “This is not OK. You should be singing here because you love music, not because you had to go through that [expletive]. You didn’t have to lose friends. I hope that you remind people that we have to change, because, you know what? I’m scared too.”

In a recent interview, Louis said that he hopes to “shine a brighter light” on his town with his audition. “It does mean I get to represent my friends that I lost,” said Louis. “It’s an honor. It really is.”

The singer received three yeses from the judges and is going through to Hollywood.

Photos: ABC/Eric McCandless

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