Warren Peay Called “Christian Chris Stapleton” During ‘American Idol’ Audition

Warren Peay impressed all three judges during his audition on American Idol on March 19. The 23-year-old South Carolina appliance repair technician and duck hunter walked in with just his guitar, topped in a cowboy hat, and went on to serenade the judges with his rendition of Zach Williams‘ 2016 song “To the Table.”

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Before his performance, Katy Perry didn’t hesitate to acknowledge Peay’s uncanny resemblance to another country singer. “I thought you were Chris Stapleton’s brother,” said Perry.

Laughing, Peay responded, “I get that a lot.”

Following his performance, Peay received a standing ovation from all three judges. “Well that was badass,” said Luke Bryan, who was mostly speechless.

Perry took over and called Peay a “Christian Chris Stapleton” before sharing her first impressions of him. “Warren, you walked in that door, and I was like, ‘Please God, please God answer our prayers, God. This guy looks the part, please let him sound the part. And you sound the freaking part.”

She added, “You are authentic—authentic. I love that song a lot. Just because you love the Lord don’t mean you don’t get angry, so I want to hear some of that, paired with that texture in the voice. That’s how you get rid of that anger, you sing about it.”

Unsure if the judges wanted him to play something else, Peay asked if they wanted to hear another song, and Bryan said “We’re all good,” while Lionel Richie added, “You’re all we need to hear.”

Peay, a native of Bamberg, South Carolina, first showed off his talent by sharing his rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s 1973 classic “Simple Man” on YouTube.

He also fronted the Christian band Colston Branch, who released their self-titled debut in 2019 before Peay decided to embark on a solo career. Though he hasn’t officially released any original music, he has shared his song “Duck Blind” and shares more on his music on his Salkehatchie Music channel on YouTube.

Already a strong start to Peay’s solo endeavors, Richie predicted that the young singer will make it into the top 10 of the competition.

“I’m going to make this brief,” said Richie following Peay’s performance. “That is as heading down the Top 10 road as I have ever heard in my whole life. … He’s strong, and he’s top 10.”

Bryan concurred, “You’re going to shake this thing up.”

Photos: ABC/Eric McCandless

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