WATCH: ‘Idol’ Judge Begs For ‘Free Tickets and Backstage Passes’ After Former Football Player Covers Garth Brooks Hit

After earning a spot in the Top 20 on American Idol, Dan Marshall delivered an energetic performance of Garth Brooks’…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

April 17, 2022


9:55 pm

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Dan Marshall; Photo via American Idol Instagram

After earning a spot in the Top 20 on American Idol, Dan Marshall delivered an energetic performance of Garth Brooks’ “Friends In Low Places” that put his newfound stage presence on full display. 

The former college football player truly shined as an entertainer and even encouraged audience participation throughout his performance. 

Marshall earned a standing ovation from the judges as well as the live audience, including Katy Perry, whose jaw was dropping over Marshall’s performance. 

Lionel Richie provided feedback first, telling the Virginia native, “I just want free tickets and backstage passes…The truth of the matter is you could just take this act right here and go straight on the road immediately because that’s as good as it gets right there. I loved it.”

“I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t get it at first, but that was so fun and you picked the right song and you had the best stage presence that is so authentic and so natural of the whole night so far,” Katy Perry shared. “Don’t forget y’all we’re here to be entertained, I just want to crush some freakin’ beers and watch you play. I am in on you 100%.” 

Luke Bryan agreed and went on to congratulate him for stepping up to the challenge for his Top 20 performance. 

“Dan, Katy’s right. I mean, I think in previous rounds you may have missed the mark on a song choice here or there and this thing is a fourth-quarter football battle making it through American Idol and then you come along and you pick the right song that really showcased kind of where you’re gonna evolve as an artist,” Bryan said. “So good job for upping your game buddy!”

YouTube video

Marshall auditioned for Idol with Brooks’ hit “The Dance.” The country music icon commented on his audition during a recent episode of his Facebook Live series, Inside Studio G

Marshall is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, and a graduate of Virginia Tech, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness and agricultural business operation. In college, he spent his time on the football team where he was a linebacker and also played guitar.

He is a big fan of ‘90s country music and lists artists like Brooks, Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean as his biggest influences.

Dan Marshall and his fellow Top 20 contestants are vying for a spot in the Top 14, which will be revealed on Monday (April 18).

To vote for Dan Marshall, visit, Text 9 to 21523 or use the American Idol app. Voting opens at the end of the show and is open till 9 a.m. EST.

American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays 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 and her work being featured on 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.