Fritz Hager III’s journey on “American Idol” has come to an end after he was eliminated on Sunday night’s live episode.
Hager and Nicolina Bozzo were both eliminated as Noah Thompson, Huntergirl and Leah Marlene advanced to the finals to compete for the winning title.
Hager described his journey on “Idol” in one word: “growth.”
“For the first time, I think I can really say I’m proud of myself,” Hager said in a pre-recorded interview last week, choking on his time competing on the show. “I never thought I would get this far and I feel like I just need one last push. No matter what, my life is changed forever.”
Positive comments flooded social media on Sunday night following Hager’s elimination.
“We are incredibly proud of how Fritz Hager 3 represented Tyler, Texas on this season of American Idol,” Visit Tyler said in a Facebook post. “Every performance has blown us away and you are a joy to watch. Thank you for fearlessly sharing your talent with the world. You are an incredible musician with a brilliant career ahead of us and we look forward to seeing you continue to succeed. Done, Fritz!”
Tyler’s town social media page also had some positive words to share following the elimination.
“While Fritz Hager 3 may not make the Top 3 on American Idol, we’re so proud of this Tyler native,” City said on his Facebook page. “We know that Hager has a great journey ahead of him no matter what and the pink city will always cheer him on!”
Hager performed twice on Sunday’s episode, first with his rendition of “I Wanna Remember” from Needtobreathe with Carrie Underwood.
“I love the song, I really connect with it,” Hager said. “For me, it’s just about wanting to remember every moment while I’m here.”
— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) May 16, 2022
Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan each praised Hager after performing the song.
Bryan said he loved watching Hager and felt like he was “on a Fritz show”. He said Hager’s chemistry with his guitar and the stage is “organic and natural”.
Richie said Tylerite, 22,’s stage presence is “something you can’t teach.” He said that one moment Hager was “the coolest, sweetest guy in the world” and the next he was a rocker.
Perry said Hager’s first performance of the night was “so effortlessly cool.”
“It’s amazing because you stayed true to who you were by choosing this song…” Perry said. “You are always amazing to me.”
For her second performance, Hager sang without her guitar – a first for her time on the competition. “I had to let it go at some point,” he laughed.
He sang “Youngblood” from 5 Seconds of Summer, actively performing on stage and interacting with the audience. The judges – especially Perry – were blown away by the different vibe Hager brought without his guitar.
“Are you telling me you had that in you all the time?” Perry exclaimed. “Are you in The Strokes, are you in The Ramones, who are you?!”
Country music star Underwood, the Season 4 winner, mentored Hager and his top contestants last week in Las Vegas.
“She’s what every contestant aspires to be, to end up like,” Hager said of Underwood, noting that she’s a “gold standard.” “…I don’t think there is anyone better I could learn from.”
Underwood complimented Hager’s gruff as he sang and said she was looking forward to his future.
“I’m really excited to see the growth Fritz has had throughout the season,” Underwood said. “I can’t wait to see how many more he will have.”
Hager said performing during tonight’s episode is “the culmination of so much hard work.”
After battling COVID-19 which kept Hager quarantined at his Los Angeles hotel and off the “Idol” stage, he said he was grateful to be back in action.
“Not being able to be at the live show last week was really difficult for me,” he said.