Katy Perry called Peay “a Christian Chris Stapleton” and said when he walked in the door, she thought he looked the part and prayed to God that he would sound the part. “And you sound the freakin’ part,” she said.
“Thank you so much,” Peay replied.
“You are authentic,” said Perry. “Authentic.”
“I sure try to be,” he said.
Perry said she liked his song choice, but wanted to hear him express anger in song. “Just because you love the Lord doesn’t mean you don’t get angry,” she remarked.
Peay agreed and offered to sing another song, but all three judges said they did not need to hear any more. Ritchie told Peay he thought he was “headin’ down the top 10 road.” The other two judges agreed the singer might have a chance at making the show’s top 10, and all were unified in their decision to send him to Hollywood.
New fans commented on Peay’s Instagram account, saying how excited they were for him. “You’ve got a new fan in me from Alabama! I’m so proud of you for being authentic in the Lord! Never change! Excited for the road ahead! Have faith & fun!!”
“Brother, we just watched your audition,” said another. “We were cheering from the moment you stepped out on the floor and just got more and more excited when you sang one of our favourite songs from our favourite artist! My husband and I are also worship leaders. I led the Zach version of Rattle last Sunday! We’ll be praying for you throughout this American Idol journey.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Warren Peay is 23, not 24.