Ocala’s ‘American Idol’ star comes home after making top 50

Emery Robbins, 18, a Forest High School graduate who recently appeared on American Idol, poses for a photo in downtown Ocala, Fla. on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2024.

Home » Arts & Entertainment
Posted April 3, 2024 | By Caroline Brauchler

While “American Idol” contestant and Ocala’s own Emery Robbins’ time on the show has come to an end, his journey in music is only just beginning.

The 18-year-old singer was eliminated from the show in the most recent round of cuts, but he made it all the way to the top 50 in the April 1 “Showstoppers” episode.

“It’s genuinely made me a better person coming out of it,” Robbins said. “It’s been a really, really great experience all around.”

Robbins performed the song “Neon Moon” by Brooks & Dunn, which was not included in the aired footage of the episode. He said he chose the song because it’s a “country classic” and a “fun song to play.”

“Out of 60,000 people who sent in online applications, they chose 400 to go audition in front of the judges. Just to be in that group of people was something special, and then, of course, to be part of the 120 people who got to go to LA and be a part of it was something really special,’’ he said. “Then to make the top 50 on top of that was just so surreal.”

Robbins performed in front of judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry. The judges cut over half of the contestants in the most recent episode, Robbins being one of them, and the remaining 24 contestants will go on to perform in the live shows.

“Katy Perry told me after I was done that my voice was super unique and just original,” Robbins said.

Robbins performed with a live band, something he said he was accustomed to from his experience performing at Church @ the Springs, where he works as the youth ministry worship director.

“I have an honor of doing my job at Church @ the Springs where every week I get to play with a new team and a new professional musician,” he said. “That’s kind of just the quality of musicians that we have…so the adjustment wasn’t anything too great because I’m used to playing with spectacular people.”

Robbins said he hopes this experience will propel his career in music, and he hopes to release his own music in the coming months.

“I’m hoping to get more into the music industry realm of things and less of the Hollywood side of things now,” he said.

His next performance will be at Citywide Concert on 7:30 p.m. on April 28, a night of worship for middle school, high school and college-aged students at the Frank DeLuca YMCA Family Center.

Now that his “American Idol” journey has been shared on the air, Robbins’ secret is finally out,and he can share his experience on the hit ABC show with the world.

“It was super difficult to keep it a secret, but at the end of the day, I’m super grateful for the opportunity and I’m grateful for the progress I was able to make and the connections I was able to make,” Robbins said.

newspaper icon

Support community journalism

The first goal of the Ocala Gazette is to deliver trustworthy local journalism so corruption, misinformation and abuse are not hidden from the public or unchallenged.

We count on community support to continue this important work. Please donate or subscribe: