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Lake Saint Louis’ Gerow goes to Hollywood in ‘American Idol’

Lake Saint Louis’ Michael Gerow has been making music since he was little, and on March 7, he finally made his Hollywood debut as a contender in the 19th season of ABC’s “American Idol.”

Michael Gerow made his first appearance on “American Idol” in episode 404 (“Auditions”) which aired on Sunday, March 7 on ABC. (Source: ABC/John Fleenor)

The 16-year-old, who is a junior at Christian High in O’Fallon, began seriously writing and uploading his music and clips to Instagram and TikTok beginning in summer 2019. Since then, he has amassed 11,900 followers on his Instagram (@michaelgerow) and another 149,700 followers and 2.4 million likes on his TikTok (@michaelgeroww). 

Before he even learned of the “American Idol” opportunity, the performances Gerow posted to social media caught the attention of a producer for “The Voice.” 

Gerow said that’s how he got introduced to the world of reality singing television shows. However, right before he departed for Los Angeles and the official blind audition for the show, Gerow was cut from the roster.

“I was kind of at a crossroads and kind of at a loss for what to do,” Gerow said. “My mom mentioned to me that ‘American Idol’ was doing their virtual auditions still. So, I went ahead and signed up for that, and the rest is history.”

Gerow passed the preliminary round of Zoom auditions before traveling to the “American Idol” set. In episode 404 (“Auditions”), Gerow confidently walked onto the set to face the judges and saw two empty chairs. Judge Luke Bryan was the only one on set. However, judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry popped in during his introduction and saw him perform “Nice Boy,” which he wrote and composed.

(Source: “American Idol” Youtube page)

“American Idol” uploaded his audition to YouTube, where Jax Scales commented, “This guy sounds like a combination of Michael Bublé and Ed Sheeran.” Another commenter, Kathryn Harris, said, “Gone to school with him for a long time, and he’s been talented since day one. Rooting for him!”

The judges on set also responded favorably.

“I love the vulnerability in your voice and how you present yourself,” Richie said in the March 7 episode. “I think you’ve got something.”

Perry said he was an “exceptional singer” with swag, even adding that she thought he was top 10 material.

After receiving a “yes” vote from all three judges, Bryan told Gerow he was going to Hollywood.

“It was definitely crazy,” Gerow said. “It’s been a huge emotional roller coaster because obviously, I was kind of down in the dumps when I’d gotten cut from ‘The Voice,’ and then I go on ‘American Idol’ and they say yes to me and they don’t back out on it.”

He said the audition was a “huge moment” for him.

“It definitely boosted my confidence a lot and it has given me the courage to completely pursue music,” Gerow said.

His passion for music started at a young age when he attended a songwriting camp at a local theater where he was performing shows. However, he didn’t seriously pick up the habit until two years ago after he got out of his first real relationship.

“That’s when I started really writing, and I’ve just been writing constantly since then,” Gerow said. 

He said something that made “American Idol” stand out for him as a songwriter is that performers are allowed to audition with original songs.

“I wanted to sing an original song for a number of reasons, one of them being that I was really comfortable performing the song that I wrote because it came from my heart,” Gerow said. “I wanted them to hear one of my original because they wouldn’t be able to have any other interpretation of it other than how I sang it.”

Gerow wasn’t the only one thrilled by his positive audition.

“I think all of my family members and friends that I told were definitely in shock, as I was,” Gerow said. “It’s one thing to go out on ‘American Idol’ and be invited to audition, but it’s another to actually make it and actually go to Hollywood. That’s why it was such a big deal for me. It actually really made me feel like I was worthy of being on a show like that and worthy of putting myself out there.”

The Hollywood episodes have already been filmed, with the first episode airing on Sunday, March 21 and rerunning on Monday, March 22 on ABC. New episodes air each Sunday at 7 p.m.

“You’ll have to tune in to find out where I made it on the show,” Gerow said

As for the future, Gerow says he’s focusing on his career and projects, including getting his song “Nice Boy” out on all music platforms. A music video for “Nice Boy” will drop, along with the song, on Thursday, March 25.

“I’m trying to establish myself as an artist,” Gerow said. “I want to put music out for the world to hear and make things that people can relate to.”

A big goal of his is to be on the charts by the end of 2021, as well as pursuing collaborations with other artists with whom he’s passionate about working.

“I’m just really focusing on everything one day at a time and trying to do as much as I can each day,” Gerow said. “The time is now, especially if I want to become a master at this, I have to start when I’m young as much as I can. I can reap the benefits of it when I’m older.”

All the links to Gerow’s music and music channels, including his Apple Music, Sound Cloud and Spotfify pages, can be found by visiting linktr.ee/michaelgerow.

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