A country-loving cowboy from southern Texas may just be the contestant to beat on the final season of American Idol.
As soon as John Wayne Schulz stepped through the door, clad in a cowboy hat and blue jeans, Keith Urban knew he had spotted something special. “There’s the winner,” he whispered to his fellow judges. “You can tell.”
If you’re a longtime viewer of the Fox reality show, you may recognize Schulz as a semi-finalist from season 10. When it came time to select the final group of contestants, judges opted to give the final slot to Scotty McCreery, who would eventually be crowned as the winner.
Schulz’s friends and family urged him to try out for the next season. Sadly, a personal tragedy kept the Marine reservist from returning to the Idol stage. Eight months after he was eliminated from American Idol, Schulz’s mother passed away after a battle with cancer.
As a tribute to his late mother, Schulz performed a heartfelt rendition of Garth Brooks‘ classic track, “The Dance”.Keith Urban went on to praise his ability to put his own emotional and voice into the classic hit. After a unanimous decision, Schulz earned his second golden ticket and advanced to the next round of auditions in Hollywood.