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Queer Houston-Area Singer Makes ‘American Idol’ Top 20

Uché talks the competition, being an out contestant, and more.

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Uché (courtesy photo).

Bisexual singer-songwriter Uché received great news on American Idol last night.

After a show stopping performance of “Play That Funky Music,” Uché, who grew up in Sugar Land, was told by judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan on March 31, that he made it to the show’s top 20.

“I don’t even have the words to explain how I felt when the judges talked to me,” Uché, 24, tells OutSmart. “I was dumbfounded. That performance was exactly what I wanted to showcase during my first audition.”

When Uché sang Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” on the premier episode of American Idol, Richie and Bryan were initially unsure whether the singer was fit to be a contestant. However, when it came time to vote, all three judges advanced Uché to the next round.

Uché also came out as a “bi guy” on episode 1, but he says that he’s more than just a queer singer. 

“People love to label us, as if [our sexualities] are all we are,” Uché says. “I bring much more to the table than who I love, we all do.”

Instead, Uché––who is also Nigerian and was raised religious––wants to use his voice as an out American Idol contestant to tell other LGBTQ folks about God.

“I want to make sure that kids like me, who aren’t straight, know that God loves them,” Uché says. “I hope that people see my journey, and my progression, and are inspired to lean on God more. Just be who you are, no matter what anyone else thinks. God’s got you.”

My Generation, Uché’s debut EP, was written about a time in his life when distanced himself from religion. In college, the singer realized that he only attended church because his parents made him. After partying and experimenting with drugs, Uché turned back to God.

In 2014, Uché placed first in an Acuvue 1-Day Contest, and won a mentorship by Joe Jonas. The singer has also opened concerts for pop star Demi Lovato and rapper B.o.B. Uché says that while he loved working with those artists, the best moment in his career so far was his latest American Idol performance.

“It was so much fun,” Uché says. “The crowd was so loud, and the energy I got from it was so pure. I get why people get almost addicted to performing. I want to keep chasing that feeling, and I’m praying that the crowds just keep getting bigger.”

American Idol continues tonight at 7 p.m. on ABC. Tune in to support Uché, or follow him on social media at uchesings.

Watch Uché’s performance from Sunday night below. 

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is a staff writer for OutSmart magazine. She recently graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in journalism.

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