DeWayne Crocker Jr. (age 23), a worship leader from Pensacola, Florida sang a cover of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin during the Auditions round of American Idol 2020 (Season 18).
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was released in September 1988 and became the first a cappella song to reach number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was originally released in conjunction with the film Cocktail in 1988 but went to the top of the charts upon its re-release and became a worldwide hit.
DeWayne said he had a lot in common with Katy, growing up as a pastor’s kid and says he is now a worship leader. He loves God, the church, and singing.
DeWayne sang a definitive version of McFerrin’s biggest hit, something which was appreciated by the judges. Lionel liked the timber of his voice, while Luke said his voice was great in the three quarter range between the high and low registers. Katy Perry said she liked DeWayne’s rendition but wanted him to be less tricksy and be more emotionally connected.
The worship leader DeWayne got a Golden Ticket to Hollywood. But that wasn’t the highlight of his audition. He said his 78-year-old great grandmother happens to be a superfan of Lionel Richie (age 70). The gracious old lady then walks into the room in her six-inch heels. She told Lionel,”My husband and I met on ‘Lady’. We would dance to Lady and when we got married, we walked down the aisle with Lady.” She wanted to see Lionel because if it hadn’t been for Lionel, her grandkids wouldn’t exist, she joked.
Lionel gave DeWayne’s grandma a treat by singing “Lady” and by dancing with her.
Lionel Richie said he liked the timbre of DeWayne’s voice. “You really just have to think ’emotional’. But at the same time your presentation – you’ve got to think ‘showbusiness’. I think you’ve got the goods.”
Luke Bryan commented, “You know if this is your range, you get the lows, the highs. When you get to that three-quarter range, you’re really, really great. But you’re a little unsure when you get in the lower registers.”
Katy Perry said DeWayne’s rendition was an interesting take of “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” “I think that you were showing off your range especially wit turning that whistle part into your falsetto. That was smart, that was very smart.”
DeWayne admitted he can’t whistle since he was a kid.
Katy said it’s ok. “But I really wanna tear down that wall and really emotionally connect. Less tricksy, and more connected.”
Lionel and Luke voted “Yes” and Katy said it’s a roll of the dice for her saying she hopes to connect with DeWayne more. With those votes, DeWayne got a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
American Idol Season 18 premiered at 8PM, February 16, 2020 on ABC television and will air Sundays at 8/7c. Ryan Seacrest continues his role as the show’s host and Bobby Bones returns as the in-house mentor. Despite budget cuts, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie come back as judges for their third season of the series.
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