Michigan Construction Worker Drops 65 Pounds To Prepare For Performance Of Jelly Roll Hit On American Idol

Fio underwent a “life-changing experience” leading up to his Idol audition.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 17, 2024

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Dave Fio; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

Some people prepare for their American Idol audition by honing in on their vocal skills but Dave Fio decided to hit the gym and change his eating habits in preparation for his performance of Jelly Roll‘s “Save Me.”

Dave Fio Is A Construction Worker From Taylor, Michigan

Fio, a construction worker from Michigan, underwent a “life-changing experience” after deciding to audition for Idol.   

“One day, my cousin sent me a link and it was like American Idol auditions are coming up and after the videos were sent in, I looked back and I’m laying in bed one night and I seen how I looked,” Fio explained to the judges. “I had bags under my eyes, face was puffy and I didn’t recognize the person and it was just a switch in my head. I thought I’m not going to get on American Idol and take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and feel unhappy about myself.” 

A Transformative Weight Loss Journey

At that moment, the Idol hopeful decided to get serious about losing weight and getting healthy. 

“So that day, I went sober and I hit the gym and I threw the bad food in the house away and it’s been about 12 weeks and I’m down 65 pounds,” he proudly revealed. (According to Dave Fio’s official Instagram, he’s now shed a total of 100 pounds.) 

Showing off his new, smaller clothes, Fio said, “Got me some department store clothes and a new boot goofing!”

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan; Photo Courtesy American Idol, YouTube
Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan; Photo Courtesy American Idol, YouTube

The judges appeared to be smitten with his personality as they smiled from their seats. 

He added, “It’s a year of happiness and earth tones. I’m killing it. I’m feeling good, Katy!” 

Katy replied, “I don’t know you sound like, but I already need you in the crew!” 

Dave Fio; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless
Dave Fio; Photo by Disney/Eric McCandless

He Performed “Save Me” By Jelly Roll

For his performance, Fio chose to sing “Save Me” by Jelly Roll as he said it “kind of fits my situation.”

It was the perfect song choice for the 24-year-old, even Luke Bryan agreed. 

“First of all, great song choice for you. Your voice naturally kind of is in line with what Jelly Roll does, but I’d like to hear more like just natural singing coming out of you and not leaning on so much of that growl and gravel,” Bryan shared with the contestant. 

Watch His Audition

YouTube video

Feedback From The Judges

Lionel Richie followed suit, offering up some constructive criticism. 

“What I would recommend is put a little bit more work in, because if you’re really going to do this and you’ve got the voice, you’ve got the style to make a career out of this. But I don’t want to make you too soon in this because you haven’t discovered your machinery.”

This feedback prompted Perry to suggest that Dave Fio attempt to sing a few notes again in a different way. His second attempt seemed to impress the judges even more. 

Perry praised his “solid voice” and acknowledged that he has the “fundamental stuff” he needs to excel in the competition. 

“I think if you put all that fighting passion you have into this audition more than I think anyone this season, you can grow so much more than you know,” she added. “I’m going to start the vote and I’m going to say yes.” 

The Vote Came Down To Luke Bryan

Lionel Richie said he was going to “stick to his guns” and voted no, so it all came down to Luke Bryan’s vote. 

Before the country star had a chance to reveal his vote, Perry asked Fio to explain what it would mean to him to go through to Hollywood. 

Fio replied, “It’s an opportunity for me to learn to grow, to come to the next stage. I’m eager to learn. I’m eager to make changes that are beneficial and then I can guarantee results to my absolute best of my ability.”

After the contestant stated his case, Bryan voted yes, telling him, “Alright Dave, you’re going on a journey! It’s a yes for me!” 

Dave Fio is heading to Hollywood! 

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.