Jason Warrior is a 25-year-old singer who is currently competing on season 19 of American Idol.
No stranger to TV singing competitions, Jason has previously appeared on NBC’s The Voice and Fox’s “The Four: Battle for Stardom”. Fans will most likely remember Jason for his confrontation with Singer Jefferson Clay as well as even more dramatic confrontation with “The Four” Judge Meghan Trainor.
As a kid, Jason overcame a difficult upbringing growing up in the Roseland community on Chicago’s South Side. He explained drug dealers, gang violence and fights were a common sight. His father was in prison most of his life, leaving his mother “to figure out how to get” the next meal for him and his two younger brothers. But Jason’s childhood was also filled with music and from a young age, he knew it was what he was meant to do.
“As with many singers, I grew up in the church, that’s where I was based out of.” Jason explained, “ I kind of knew at a point, especially at 6 years old, I was just so involved, I just knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Jason attended Harold L. Richards High School and as a teenager, he was a member of Chicago-based gospel group Walt Whitman and the Soul Children. After high school, Jason attended Northern Illinois University on a theater scholarship and he founded a production company out of his dorm, called Dramatic Studios. Through the company, Jason produced a 20-episode web series called The Truth which documented young people overcoming difficult issues in life.
To earn money, he began performing in bars near the college and back in Chicago but eventually dropped out of school. After college, Jason returned to Chicago but struggled to find a job even though he had worked for six years, including while attending Richards. Feeling defeated, Jason found himself facing eviction from his Chicago apartment in early 2016. “I was praying very hard,” Jason recalled. That same day, Jason said he got a break. NBC called him to return for an audition on the TV singing competition “The Voice.” Jason initially tried out for The Voice in 2014, but he had not heard anything from the show during the past two years. After he got the call that March, Jason began watching vocal tutorials on YouTube and learning up to 10 songs a day to prepare for the audition.
For his blind audition, Jason performed Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the city.” The performance earned him chair turns from coaches Adam Levine and Alicia Keys and Jason ultimately chose Team Alicia as his coach. During the battle round, Jason lost to Christian Cuevas but was saved after being stolen by Team Adam.
For his knockout performance, Jason sang “I want you” by Luke James but would lose to Riley Elmore. Jason was saved once again after he was stolen by team Blake, making him the only contestant in Season 11 to have competed on three different teams.
For his Live Playoff, Jason performed Drake’s One dance. Unfortunately, he did not receive enough votes to be saved and fell into the Coach’s Choice alongside Courtney Harrell and Dana Harper. Coach Blake Shelton would ultimately choose to save Courtney, eliminating Jason from the competition.Following his time on the voice, Jason continued to release music and worked as an assistant speech coach at Dwight Eisenhower High School in south suburban Blue Island, Illinois.
Jason’s most infamous performance would come in 2018 while competing on season 1 of Fox’s “The Four: Battle for Stardom.” Jason explained producers reached out and invited him to a showcase which led to an appearance on the show’s second episode. For his initial performance, Jason sang “Love me now” by John Legend.” The performance received yes votes from all four judges and earned Jason the right to challenge incumbent Four member Saeed Renaud for his seat. For the challenge, Jason performed radioactive by imagine dragons. After the performance fans voted Jason through earning him Saeed’s seat.
During the show’s third episode, Jason was challenged by singer-songwriter Jefferson Clay. For his portion of the challenge, Jason performed Rihanna’s “Love on the brain.” After the performance, things took a dramatic turn when Jefferson implied Jason wasn’t a true artist saying “you cannot deny that voice, but this competition was about being an artist.” Jason passionately responded saying “My friend, let me show you what an artist is. Let me help you understand something. An artist is someone who was born with a gift, not that learned how to play the gift!” As Jason moved into Jefferson’s personal space, he shouted, “An artist is someone who grinds so hard. You wouldn’t understand that, because where I’m from, we work hard! We grind! So I am an artist. Don’t you deny that!” During the results portion of the episode, Jason successfully defended his seat winning the audience vote and advancing to the next week.
For episode 4, Jason successfully and uneventfully defended his seat against challenger Ravaughn with his performance of Sia’s “Titanium.”
During episode five, Jason was challenged by singer Vincint Cannady and this time, one week before the finale, the results would be anything but uneventful. For the challenge, Jason took a bit of a risk, performing “Ordinary People” by John Legend, an artist that Jason is frequently compared to. After the performance, Judge Meghan Trainor told Jason, “I wasn’t as excited and pumped up as the other nights you’ve been here. I don’t know if it’s because like I’ve heard John Legend sing right next to me and we already have that or you over sang the song.”
During the results portion of the show, the audience voted Vincint through and Jason lost his seat. As he was being eliminated, Jason clearly unhappy with the comparison to John Legend approached Meghan saying, “I really love you dearly and I respect everything you do, but sometimes you say things to us that hurt us.” He continued to approach the judge grabbing and holding her hand while saying, “Sometimes you say things that are hurtful, but I still love you.” Still holding her hand, he then began singing her hit single “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” leaving Meghan, host Fergie and the audience shaken by his behavior. At some point, someone called security and Jason was ushered back to host Fergie where he was eliminated from the show.
Once backstage, Jason explained why he was upset with Meghan saying “What Meghan said, ‘There’s already a John Legend’ — I’m sorry, Meghan, but I don’t think John Legend is doing the things that I’m doing.”
“If I would have been treated a lot more fairly, I have a very great feeling that I could have won this show.”
Show creator “Diddy” called Jason’s confrontation with Meghan “crazy, rude and disrespectful.”
Since appearing on the show, Jason has continued to produce both secular and Christian singles, releasing “No one like you in 2019, My God in 2020, and most recently “Love somebody” just to name a few. His Christian singles have been so impressive that Gospel Artist Entertainment named Jason one of 25 upcoming gospel artists to watch in 2021.
Now appearing on American Idol, Jason said in a pre-audition interview that he learned from the experience and is sorry the exchange with Meghan ever occurred. “I responded out of my emotions,” he says during the intro, “I thought I knew it all. I thought I was all of that and a bag of chips dipping hot sauce. But I wasn’t even close to being there yet. That moment of immaturity, it almost completely destroyed my career… I made a mistake, but I learned from it. And I plan to show that I learned from it.”
For his audition, Jason performed a soulful cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On”. After the performance judge Lionel Richie said, “that is one of the strongest vocals I have ever heard on this show.” Judge Katie Perry praised the performance and said “it sounds like you were on the wrong show before.” All three judges voted yes earning Jason a golden ticket and a trip to Hollywood week.
Clearly talented, Jason hopes his newfound wisdom and maturity will take him much further this time around.
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