**Note: The video below includes profanities.
Katy Perry broke down in tears and delivered stirring words after a contestant on “American Idol” revealed he had survived a school shooting.
Trey Louis, 21, is a mattress salesman from Sante Fe, Texas, who wowed Perry and fellow judges Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie during his audition when he sang Whiskey Myers’ “Stone” on the show's Feb. 26 episode.
He earned a standing ovation from the trio before he explained what compelled him to audition for the show. Louis surviving a 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, Texas, that claimed 10 lives. Officials say another 13 people were injured.
“In May 2018, a gunman walked into my school,” he said. “I was in Art Room One, and he shot up Art Room Two before 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 negative, man. Santa Fe’s had a really bad rap here since 2018.”
Louis' story caused Richie and Bryan to well up. A few seconds later, Perry erupted in tears.
“Our country has (expletive) failed us,” she yelled in the video.
“This is not OK! You should be singing here because you love music. Not because you had to go through that (expletive). You didn’t have to lose eight friends. I hope that you remind people that we have to change, because, you know what? I’m scared too.”
“It’s terrible, Katy,” Louis replied. “It’s horrible.”
“We have tolerated this for so long, too long,” Richie said. “It’s become a norm.”
Perry said we need to change and encouraged Louis to “lead.”
“For myself, for my school, for you, you got it,” he said.
The judges voted him through to the next round and each gave him a hug while telling him he had advanced.
After the audition, Bryan, a country star, tweeted about Louis’ performance, saying he has a “perfect voice.”
Upon leaving the audition room, Louis reunited with his girlfriend. Speaking to the camera, he honored other victims of other mass shootings.
“It’s important for me to share my story from my hometown. For Parkland, for Columbine, for Las Vegas and so many others,” Louis said.