‘American Idol’ Contestant Trey Louis Draws Comparisons To Chris Stapleton

Louis is a survivor of the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 26, 2023


10:21 pm

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Trey Louis; Photo by American Idol, ABC

Full-time mattress salesman Trey Louis, 21, auditioned for American Idol and drew comparisons to Chris Stapleton with his soulful vocals after covering Whiskey Myers’ “Stone.” 

Nicknamed “Trey from Fe” (Santa Fe, Texas), Trey candidly spoke with the Idol judges about his role as a mattress salesman. 

“How you ever caught anybody trying to have a little whoopee in the store,” Luke Bryan jokingly asked. 

“No, no, no. It’s a good question. I’ve had people come in and ask questions regarding how good you can perform on the bed, but I can kind of give ‘em some… Like yeah man, this one bounces good or this one has a good firmness to it, but yeah exactly,” Trey said. 

YouTube video

He jokingly added, “I’m slinging the springs baby!”

Trey Louis effortlessly sang the Whiskey Myers hit, and the judges were fixated on him the entire time. 

He earned a standing ovation and appeared to be shocked over their overwhelming support.  

“You think so,” he asked. “Man, y’all better sit down man, y’all better sit down!” 

His performance continued to earn praise from the judges, while his girlfriend, Grace, waited for her in the hallway outside the audition room. 

“Man, You’re singing from just the perfect spot, you throw that head back and close them eyes and you got the perfect voice. It’s been interesting, you start wondering when the Chris Stapleton disciples will start showing up and you were probably driven around in your truck learning Chris Stapleton and trying your butt to sing like him,” Bryan said.  

“Yes sir,” Trey replied.

“Why are you doing Idol?” Luke Bryan questioned. 

“Man so, American Idol number one, is kind of where people I enjoy kind of make it. Number two, as I said before I’m from Santa Fe, Texas. In May 2018, a gunman walked into my school. I was in art room one and he shot up art room two until he made his way to art room one. Lost a lot of friends. Eight students were killed. Two teachers were killed. It’s just really been a negative man. Since then Santa Fe had a bad [reputation] since 2018,” Trey honestly shared. 

Trey Louis; Photo by American Idol, ABC
Trey Louis; Photo by American Idol, ABC

Bryan appeared to be at a loss for words as his emotions seemed to overcome him. “Man you just got the perfect voice. You sing from the right spot [and] you just let it come out of your heart and that’s what we love around here.” 

Trey’s emotional story left Katy Perry in a puddle of tears. 

“Our country has f***ing failed us!” Perry said to which he replied, “facts.” 

“This is not okay, you should be singing here because you love music. Not because you had to go through that f***ing bulls**t.” Perry emotionally shouted. 

Trey agreed. 

“I hope that you remind people that we have to change because you know what I’m scared too,” Perry told him. 

Trey agreed as he told her, “It’s terrible Katy, it’s horrible.” 

“We have tolerated this for so long, for too long, it’s become a norm,” Lionel Richie acknowledged. 

After pleading for change, Perry and the fellow judges cast their votes.  

“I want to vote on this young man because I think you’ve done exactly what you were supposed to do. You have a yes from me and I can’t wait to see you at Hollywood,” Richie said. 

“Yes, I can’t talk… you’re perfect,” Bryan added, holding back tears.

“Thank you. Yes,” Perry declared. 

With a smile on his face, Trey Louis said, “Thank y’all so much. Y’all are awesome!”

After receiving a hug from all of the judges, Trey bid farewell to the audition room. 

“I’ll see y’all in California baby!”

Following his audition, a video of Trey in his hometown appeared as he opened up about his past and his reason for sharing his story. 

“For Parkland, for Columbine, for Las Vegas, and so many others… What we go through every day because of what happened is terrible, but there is a light. There is positivity and you just have to go chase it. Santa Fe, I’m not stopping, I got all the motivation behind me. I got all of you guys behind me. What a blessing this really is.” 

Trey Louis was referring to the Santa Fe High School shooting that took place on May 18, 2018. According to CNN, a gunman, later identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, fatally shot two teachers and eight students. A February 2, 2023, report by Houston Public Media states that the gunman remains “mentally incompetent” an remains at the North Texas Sate Hospital in Vernon, Texas.   
American Idol airs Sundays at 8/7c on ABC.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.