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Katy Perry Breaks Down Over School Shooting Survivor on ‘Idol’: ‘Our Country Has F-king Failed Us’

Trey Louis, 21, found himself drawn to the type of artists that emerged from American Idol, but his own audition on the show was rooted in a different connection. After performing Whiskey Myers’ “Stone,” the Texas native revealed to the panel of judges that the event that actually led him to the audition was the shooting at Santa Fe High School in 2018 that left 10 dead.

“In May 2018, a gunman walked into my school,” Louis said. “I was in Art Room 1 and he shot up Art Room 2 before he made his way to Art Room 1. Lost a lot of friends. Eight students were killed. Two teachers were killed. It’s just really been negative, man. Santa Fe’s really had a bad rap here since 2018.”

A beat of silence filled the room before Luke Bryan quickly pivoted the conversation back to Louis’ vocal performance, which he likened to that of Chris Stapleton. As Lionel Richie searched for the right words, Katy Perry broke down into tears, holding her head in her hands before declaring: “Our country has fucking failed us.”

In true Gen Z fashion, colored with a certain level of desensitization, Louis simply responded: “Facts.”

“This is not okay,” Perry continued. “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. I hope that you remind people that we have to change, because you know what? I’m scared, too.”

While Perry simmered, Richie added: “We have tolerated this for so long, for too long. It’s become a norm.”


Louis received a yes from all three judges, thus advancing him to the next round of the competition. Before he left the American Idol audition room, he made a deal with Perry. “We’ve got to change,” she said. “And I hope you can just lead. Can you do me that favor?”

“For myself, for my school, for you,” he told her. “You got it. Yes ma’am.”

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