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'American Idol's John Wayne Schulz lost Season 10 semifinalist spot to winner Scotty McCreery, auditions again with "fire inside" him

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/15/2016 

American Idol's fifteenth and final season may be one of redemption for a former hopeful who got cut before live shows.

As shown in Thursday night's American Idol broadcast on Fox, John W. Schulz, a Marine and flight instructor from Salt Lake City, UT, returned for a second shot at glory.

John previously auditioned for Season 10 of Idol and made it all the way through Hollywood Week. However, he was cut during Final Judgement when the judging panel were determining the Top 24 semifinalists -- 12 guys and 12 girls.

"Some people might remember me from Season 10 of American Idol, which Scotty McCreery won. It came down to him and I... they sent me home, kept him, and he ended up winning the whole show," John said with a laugh during his video package.

Former Idol judge Randy Jackson was shown breaking the bad news to John, noting he just wasn't "quite ready for it yet."

"At the time, I was sad, but I was also very, very grateful to be sent home because my mother's cancer had just come back," John continued. "In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and I told her, 'Mom I love you. I'll do anything for you.' And she said, 'Well, try out for American Idol.'"

The country singer is living proof of the famous phrase, "Everything happens for a reason." The timing of his Season 10 elimination was perfect.

"I didn't know it, but we only had a few more months with her. She passed away just after the show," John revealed.

"It was a great thing to be able to be home with her during the last few months of her life. I decided to come back because I thought, 'This is the last season of American Idol.' I love music; I love singing... I feel like this is a great way to honor my mother's memory and also to reach for my goals."

John told the cameras he auditioned for Idol's fifteenth season with a "fire inside" of him to do his very best.

Jennifer Lopez recognized John from Season 10 almost immediately and seemed excited about his return. John then performed "The Dance" by Garth Brooks for Jennifer and her fellow judges Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.

Keith loved how John sang "naturally" and didn't try to imitate Garth, which apparently drives him crazy. Jennifer said there were some "super pretty thing" that happened in his vocals and she found them "very pleasant." Harry flat out called it "a perfect, succinct performance."

It was a "yes" all around and John was sent to Hollywood. But before leaving the audition room, he made an effort to thank and politely shake each judge's hand.

"I think my mom would be really proud of me right now and I wish she was here," John said after his audition. "This one's for you mom!"

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