In a sneak peek at Sunday’s season premiere of “American Idol”, Jason Warrior makes an emotional impact.
Warrior, a schoolteacher in Chicago’s South Side, is no stranger to TV singing competitions, having previously been seen on “The Voice” and Fox’s “The Four”.
Warrior became infamous on the latter, however, when he confronted judge Meghan Trainor over comments he found hurtful, leading to the awkward spectacle of a member of the show’s security team pulling him away from the judging table.
Now that he’s competing on “Idol”, he says in a pre-audition interview, he can see that he wasn’t ready during those previous competitions, admitting, “I had to have that humbling experience… I made a mistake, but I learned from it. And I intend to show that I learned it.”
Stepping before Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, Warrior breaks down in tears recalling his rejection on “The Four”, and receives words of encouragement from Richie.
After composing himself, Warrior unleashes a soaring and soulful cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” that brings all three judges to their feet.
Richie describes Warrior’s audition as “one of the strongest vocal performances I have ever heard on this show,” while Bryan finds Warrior’s name to be “beautifully awesome.”
Perry compares him to another famous Jason, who often portrays a warrior. “Jason Momoa wishes,” she quips before all three judge unanimously vote to send him to Hollywood.
Warrior described his experience to Chicago’s ABC 7. “Boom! Everything just kind of changed and here I am in L.A. auditioning in front of judges,” he said. “Walking into the room to audition, the first person I noticed was Katy. She was so beautiful sitting there, and I was just like, wait, that’s not Katy Perry, stop playin’. And it felt like they were a hologram, they didn’t seem real, so I wanted to touch them a little bit!”
Warrior admitted he was nervous initially, but Perry and the other judges did their best to make him feel comfortable.
“The moment those judges opened up their mouths and they began to speak to me, it’s as if everything that was bothering you every bit of nervousness just went away. We’re in a room together and we just want to hear you sing, come and share your gift with us. It felt so wonderful,” he said. “Music is so powerful, so powerful and that is my goal, I wanna change the world through music.”
For old time’s sake, check out Warrior’s 2016 blind audition for “The Voice”.
The season premiere of “American Idol” airs Sunday, Feb. 14.