‘American Idol’ contestant proud to be from Pensacola

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — In a Skype interview with News 5, Pensacola resident and American Idol contestant DeWayne Crocker, Jr. beamed with pride while talking about his hometown.

“I was born and raised in Pensacola. I lived there for 22 years,” the 23-year-old said. “(Pensacola residents) have pushed me since Day 1, since they found out I was an artist. Every journey I’ve been on, they’ve been right there supporting me.”

Crocker now lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he serves as a worship leader at a church. He auditioned for American Idol in September and during the audition, he told the judges where he came from.

“I’m DeWayne Crocker, Jr. from Pensacola, Fla., and I’m 23 years old,” he told Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

Crocker wowed the judges with a more soulful version of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”

Crocker said the show’s producers wanted him to sing the song again for the TV show judges, after he had already auditioned with the song in earlier rounds.

“I guess nobody had ever really done that song and remixed so I was like, ‘sure,’” he said.

Crocker got noticed singing around Pensacola with his friends and posting videos of it. Some of the videos went viral, garnering more than 60 million views. Crocker went to Escambia High School and graduated from Pensacola State College in December.

Crocker is no stranger to national television. He won Black Entertainment Television’s “Sunday Best: Race to the Stage.”

Now on American Idol, he hopes the show can help launch a career in music or whatever opportunity God throws at him.

He knows one thing, though: Pensacola will have his back.

“I’m just so excited that they’re a part of this journey with me,” he said. “I just want to tell everybody: ‘I love you guys. Thank you so much for the support.’”

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