A Tyler man has advanced to the next phase of a national singing competition.
Fritz Hager III, 21, appeared on “American Idol” on Tuesday night for the show’s Genre Round of its Hollywood Week performances.
A group of artists performed in each category of pop, country, soul, R&B, rock and indie/folk, which is the genre Hager competed in.
Of the eight contestants in the indie/folk genre, Hager was one of just two who advanced to the next round.
Hager’s acoustic performance of “Unsteady” by X Ambassadors seemed to impress judges Katy Perry, who had a positive comment, and Lionel Richie, who swayed to the music as Hager performed. It’s unclear if Hager has won over Luke Bryan, who voted “no” during Hager’s audition last week, but Hager appears to be making progress.
“Wow, that was a big surprise,” Perry said immediately following Hager’s performance. After her comment, Bryan raised his eyebrows and nodded slightly.
Right after Hager was announced as moving on to the next phase of the competition, he was overwhelmed with emotion.
“I haven’t totally processed the whole thing yet,” Hager said on the show. With tears in his eyes, he added, “I’m just so grateful.”
Hager will now move on to the Duets portion of Hollywood Week which will air at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC.
Ahead of his performance, Hager was seen on the show saying he’d always wanted to audition for “American Idol” since he was a child.
“This show formed my passion for music, so to be here actively living my dream is crazy,” Hager said during an interview on the show.
On Monday night’s episode, Hager revealed he struggles with his confidence as a singer. With his mom being a lawyer and his dad a “military man,” he said becoming a singer was not something his parents expected.
“I’ve spent a really long time trying to be happy pretending to be somebody else,” Hager said. “I sort of realized I just need to try to be me and figure out how to be comfortable with that.”
Hager said he wants to prove his worth to others and himself.
“I’m going to show them that I deserve to be here,” Hager said. “I’m going to show everyone, and hopefully I’ll show myself that I deserve to be here too.”
Along with the other indie/folk artists, Hager was mentored by 2010 “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze ahead of the first round of Hollywood performances.