John Wayne Schulz looks and sounds just like a cowboy. He auditioned for American Idol in Texas and immediately impressed the judges....

by Hilton Hater at

He's a former recording artist and a professional cowboy. He's also an early American Idol favorite.

During the final round of Hollywood auditions last night, John Wayne Schulz confidently took to the stage, guitar in hand, and dedicated his rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" to his mother, who was in the audience.

He gave it a simple, country spin, earning a brief duet with Jennifer Lopez, as that judge sung along with Schulz for a few seconds. That's always a good sign for any contestant. Watched John Wayne in action and sound off: He has to be among the top contenders at this point, right?

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by Hilton Hater at

John Wayne Schulz is new to American Idol, wowing the judges in Austin last night with his country persona and incredible chops.

But John Wayne Schulz is not new to the music scene. This 23-year old actually recorded an album on an independent label when he was 14.

It contained 10 tracks, was titled "Ropin' Dreams" and was released on Texas-based BSW Records, confirms that company's president and CEO, Frank Willson.

"He was very, very young when we first started," Wilson tells Billboard. "He's of Mormon faith, and he had to go on his church mission. He was gone for two years, and we just weren't able to reconnect once he returned."

Does Wilson have a prediction? Could John Wayne win American Idol? The record company expert says:

"I think he will [go far], yes. That whole family is really a super, super family. They really stick together. They work hard, and he's got the talent. I think he has a very good chance."

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by Hilton Hater at

He has the name, the look, the story and the sound. John Wayne Schulz is a real, American cowboy.

Or, following last night's audition in Austin, we should say: a real, American Idol cowboy.

The 23-year old - who released an album on an independent label when was was 14 - wowed judges and viewers with his rendition of "Believe." As part of a family that has goes back to 1857 in Texas, Schulz ropes cattle for a living and dedicated his performance to his mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. Watch now.

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