‘American Idol': Warren Peay, Compared to Chris Stapleton, Advances to Hollywood [Watch]
American Idol Season 21 returned on Sunday night (March 19), which meant a number of talented individuals were photographed waving their golden ticket in the air following an audition. But perhaps none of the contestants received a compliment as high as Warren Peay of Brandenburg, South Carolina.
After Peay's audition, judge and pop superstar Katy Perry called him a "Christian Chris Stapleton."
For his national TV debut, Peay delivered a memorable countrified take on Christian/rock artist Zach Williams’ “To the Table.” He brought an acoustic guitar to his audition and jammed out on the instrument in front of the judging panel. He also flaunted his raucous vocals on the spiritually-driven song, earning high praise from the judges.
“His voice cuts through,” Luke Bryan mouthed out during the rendition.
“FM radio right there,” Lionel Richie replied.
Peay is a 23-year-old appliance repair technician. Before singing his heart out for the judges, he said that although he enjoys going to work every day, he has always had a passion for music. A busy man, he also leads worship at his church. Aside from digging into his spirituality at church, he said the worship space allows him to grow musically, but Idol would open up even more doors for him.
“Coming into American Idol, I truly feel like this is a game changer for me,” Peay shared. “I want to get out and play as much as possible. I want to make it a career. I think my church is super proud that I’m going, and I’m so glad to have that support behind me.”
As it turns out, Peay also has support from Bryan, Perry and Richie.
“That was bad ass,” Bryan said of Peay’s audition. “You’re going to shake this thing up.”
“You’re like a Christian Chris Stapleton!” Perry added. “Warren. You walked in the door, and I was like, 'Please, God. Please, God. Answer our prayers. This guy looks the part. Please have him sound the part!' And you sounded the freaking part. You’re so authentic. I like that song a lot.”
“That is about as heading down to Top 10 road I’ve ever heard in my life,” Richie shared.
After applauding Peay’s audition, all three judges simultaneously gave the hopeful a yes, sending him to Hollywood for a chance to win the Idol crown.
American Idol airs Sundays at 8PM ET on ABC.