Lambert High School graduate Adriel Carrión, 18, said he endured the shock of his life when Katy Perry told him and his American Idol duet partner that she did not want to hear anymore contestants sing the song “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles.
Carrión and his partner had rehearsed the song for the duet challenge on American Idol’s Hollywood Week until they thought it was perfect.
“I just remember my whole face falling when she said that,” Carrión said.
The duo received a standing ovation from all three judges after their R&B style cover of the song. The following week, Carrión sang "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse to finish his Hollywood Week performances. He was excited to continue his journey, but unfortunately, the judges had some sad news.
On the day of eliminations, the judges had to cut half of the contestants on the show. Carrión went into the judging room first.
“I was so excited because I was the first one to go [to the eliminations],” Carrión said. “So I was thinking, ‘They’re not going to eliminate me. They probably want to start the day off right.’”
He said he remembers judge Lionel Richie’s face being on a big screen in front of him and that Richie complimented him. He said as soon as Richie started complimenting him, he knew that his journey was coming to a close.
“I just told myself, ‘You know what? Just say thank you, say that you’re very grateful because you are and you didn’t even know that you’d get this far,’” Carrión said.
Though he didn’t make it in this season’s Top 20, he finished as a Top 40 artist and made it through Hollywood Week before getting eliminated.
Looking back at his journey, Carrión said the judges were all “so personal” and that they “cared a lot about the artists.”
He remembered one instance where Perry told him she was rooting for him and she was going to be watching out for him in the future.
“That was so exciting,” Carrión said. “To just hear somebody that I’ve watched my whole life say that to me. It was amazing, and it gave me a little bit more hope.”
Carrión also said that one of the best parts about being on American Idol was singing on the big stage surrounded in lights and music. He said that during his song by Amy Winehouse, he let go and felt himself float into the music.
“I’ve never performed like that in my life,” he said. “At that moment … I just gave it my all.”
Carrión said the American Idol stage will hold fond memories for him.
“I remember [after singing on the stage], I went into the bathroom and … cried in the bathroom stall because I was like … What just happened?’” Carrión said. “But tears of joy, of excitement.”
Though he will not appear on the American Idol stage again this season, he said he has something big coming up in his future. He revealed that he’s been speaking with one of the members of the Backstreet Boys about a possible singing role in a movie.
“I don’t know how that’s going to go,” Carrión said. “I don’t know if I’ll make it because I have to do this whole … dancing thing to see if I can make it past that part [of the audition], but it’s looking really good so far.”
He said that he’s always loved movies along with singing and “just performing in general.” He said when he was younger, he would sit in his room and recite monologues from his favorite movies, especially ‘The Hunger Games.’
“I know every single line in that movie,” Carrión said. “So I would always act those things out.”
He also said that he might audition for American Idol again in the future because he had a great experience this season. But for now he wants to explore all the avenues the show opened up for him.
“To anybody who likes to sing or anybody that wants to be a performer, they should definitely try,” Carrión said. “I mean, I was turned away so many times from American Idol and The Voice, but I kept going.”
“This one door led to many others I think,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what happens and tell everybody about it in the future.”
To keep up with Carrión’s journey, check out his Instagram @adriel_carrion or his YouTube channel: Adriel Carrión.