Jon Wayne Hatfield was one of the hopefuls who auditioned for ‘American Idol,’ and he decided to sing an original song dedicated to his grandfather, Ray, who recently came out as gay.
The 21-year-old Idol hopeful walked into the audition room with a guitar in hand, and he talked about his upbringing in Ohio with judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. He then shared that he was raised by his grandparents due to his mother’s struggle with addiction.
He also particularly expressed how close he is with his grandfather, who accompanied him to his audition. Thereafter, the judges asked Hatfield to invite his grandfather in before performing his original song titled “Tell Me Ray.”
Perry told his grandpa Ray,
“I think he’s going to sing a song he wrote about you.”
To which Ray responded,
“Yeah, I know. It’s a tough one,” as tears filled his eyes.
Hatfield further shared that the events following his grandmother’s death led him to write “Tell Me Ray.”
“I lost my grandma about three years ago. After losing her, watching my grandpa was the hardest thing. He lost his best friend in 50 years. He wouldn’t talk to anybody for about the first year and a half, not even me. I got mad at myself because I couldn’t fix it, and he wasn’t ready, and I understand that. I didn’t see what he was actually going through,” he recalled.
Later on Ray revealed that he is gay, which inspired his grandson to write a song.
“Jon is the last person I told because I was scared he’d stop loving me,” his grandfather admitted.
Hatfield, on the other hand, assured his grandpa:
“I just wanted to put it out there right away like, ‘Hey, don’t think that’s going to change a damn thing between me and you, because my best friend, and you’re my dad.’”
His grandson’s song helped Ray to feel proud of his true self, and he expressed:
“It’s a big relief to stand here and be proud and say I’m gay and there’s nothing wrong with it. My grandson, he’s my rock.”
You can watch Hatfield’s audition here, which received a standing ovation from the judges: