WATCH – ‘American Idol’ singer with Port Arthur ties makes Top 5 – Port Arthur News
Sarina Hager said it was strange to type her son’s name into Apple Music and see it pop up on the screen.
“It’s so exciting for a mom,” said Port Arthur native and mother of “American Idol” contestant Fritz Hager III. “He said over 140,000 people listened to ‘The Ocean’. He’s a kid from Tyler, Texas. I don’t know if there are 140,000 people in Tyler.
The song was written for his grandmother, Brenda Drago, who bought Fritz his first guitar. The family spent summers on the Bolivar Peninsula, and Brenda asked her grandson to write about it.
Unfortunately, she died before she could hear it. But on Sunday night, millions of people listened to the 22-year-old perform it on “Idol.”
Starting out as one of 100,000 people to audition for the show, Fritz is now in the final five.
“It was so amazing to see him,” Sarina said. “Every time I hear this song, its words bring to mind images so vivid that it’s hard to listen without crying. The most amazing thing, as I listened to this song performed for a nationwide audience, was is to see how those words resonate with so many people around the world. He really tapped into something at a heart level, which I think set him apart from day one.
Fritz was unable to perform live, as planned, but instead at a pre-recorded rehearsal because he was recently diagnosed with COVID-19.
After the rehearsal was broadcast, he faced the three judges via a video screen.
“All I’m going to say is: singer, songwriter, performer,” Lionel Richie said. “My friend, your star has arrived.”
Katy Perry said she was proud of Fritz.
“I think it was one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard about a grandmother in general,” she told him. “You continue to shock and amaze me.”
Luke Bryan commented on his guitar playing and vocals.
“You look like a pro, you talk like a pro,” the country singer said. “You play guitar with a lot of emotion. And that was – my God – another amazing performance.
Bryan then asked “everyone” to vote.
“As a mother, I’m not sure I want him to win it all,” Sarina said with a laugh. “There are fears with this kind of notoriety. But what I want most for him is to spend his life doing what God has in store for him to do. It’s amazing and we’re just waiting to see how high this star rises.
The show airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on ABC.