John Wayne Schulz knows what it’s like to lose on “American Idol.”

In his first “Idol” attempt in January 2011, Schulz fell short of heading to the big stage, losing a semifinalist spot to eventual champion Scotty McCreery. That loss turned out to be a blessing in disguise as his mom passed away from breast cancer just a few months after his elimination, so he was able to spend that precious time with her.

When he came back this year however, he didn’t come to lose. During his initial audition, he dedicated his rendition of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” to his late mom. Then in a calculated move, the former marine rolled the dice during solo week singing “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” a song made famous by none other than “Idol” judge Keith Urban.

It was easy to see Urban was loving the performance as his head bobbed and he sang along.

In the end, Schulz earned a bevy of new fans all across America, but unfortunately he didn’t have enough fans at the judges table. He was eliminated once again.

Who knows, maybe he should have gone with another song. Or maybe he should have looked harder for his lucky cowboy hat.

Based in Chicago but often in Nashville, Ken Churilla is a contributor for Rare Country. Follow him @KenChurilla and join the conversation @RareCountry.
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