A Van Alstyne teenager is headed to Hollywood on ABC reality show “American Idol.”
The show’s judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie advanced 16-year-old local singer Austin Robinson past the auditions during a recent episode of the show.
Robinson walked onto the stage with a smile and guitar, and wearing a cowboy hat and boots, and Perry referred to him as being “like a country Justin Bieber.” Before the song, Perry asked whether he was “really country.”
“Yes, ma’am, I live on a ranch — we have five horses,” Robinson said. “I go hunting and fishing every day.”
Perry then asked Robinson whether he could lasso, and the Van Alstyne teen said he could and had brought his rope.
“I want to see some lasso,” Perry said. “You’re going to catch me later.”
Robinson chose to sing Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” but had to repeat the title for Perry. She gave him the first piece of advice of the night by saying “You’ve got to open your mouth just a little bit more.” Robinson hit both the high and low notes in the song and even pulled off some dance moves while he sang.
After his performance, Bryan and Richie both echoed Perry’s sentiment that Robinson needs to open his mouth more, with Bryan saying he was even singing with a slightly closed mouth. Bryan and Richie voted to send Robinson onto the next round, while Perry said she thought he should wait a little bit and maybe “slow cook, get smoked like a good whiskey.” The panel then handed him the symbolic golden ticket meaning he was “going to Hollywood.”
After Robinson thanked them, he left the stage and then returned very promptly swirling his rope overhead.
“Did somebody order a rope trick?” Robinson asked.
Bryan got Robinson up onto a chair and then lifted him up onto his shoulders. Bryan danced, Richie provided background vocals, and Robinson roped Perry.
Robinson’s family was waiting backstage through the audition and it was just a few days after the family returned to Van Alstyne when their house, in the country east of town, caught fire and suffered considerable damage. Austin’s mother, Summer Robinson, said they are now living, temporarily, with family in Anna until they can rebuild. In the meantime, she is acting as manager for her son while the family does more to advance his career. He played several times recently at Six Flags over Texas, and Summer Robinson said they are looking at professional websites and the best in other public relations, career and management options.
Austin Robinson is set to play the El Patio Escondido in Van Alstyne on April 8. The two-part “American Idol” Hollywood Week episodes will air March 24-25 on ABC.