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American Idol breaks viewers’ hearts by turning away adorable trans teen in favour of Pitbull tribute act

Nick Duffy February 22, 2021
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Trans teen Ace Stiles was sent home by the American Idol judges, while acts with no singing ability sailed through

Trans teen Ace Stiles was sent home by the American Idol judges, while acts with no singing ability sailed through

Ace Stiles, an adorably quirky transgender teen who auditioned for American Idol, has won viewers’ hearts after he spoke about his coming out process.

16-year-old Ace Stiles, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, made an appearance on the 19th season of the reality show on Sunday (21 February) with a rainbow-clad guitar.

The teen quickly won round viewers with his performance of original song “Addicted”, before speaking about his trans identity in front of a TV audience of millions.

Asked if “Ace” was his real name by Katy Perry, the teen said: “Sure. I’m trans, so I got to pick my name, so technically it’s my name! Not legally yet, but it’s OK. We’ve got to wait, you’ve got to be 18.”

Ace Stiles spoke about trans identity in front of millions

Opening up about his coming out process in a VT, he said: “I definitely had to come out to myself before I could come out to everybody else, but when I was 14, I had a moment of realisation.

“[After transitioning] I did the school play and I wasn’t allowed in either of the dressing rooms. They made me change in the closet. It wasn’t fun and made me cry, but it’s chill.

“After coming out I definitely felt better than I have in a long time. Everybody at home, I hope they see that it’s OK to be yourself.

“I’m going to be myself, and I don’t need any of you to tell me that I’m not worth it, because I am worth it and I figured it out on my own.

“I like myself and I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I think I’m pretty cool.”

However, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie stunned viewers when they opted not to give the teen a chance to blossom, picking up on his nerves and quiet voice in order to send him home.

Perry said: “You’ve got an interesting voice, you’ve got something worth investing in. It’s going to get better, in all the ways, the longer you have experience with life. Ace, we’re here for you and we support you, but we want it long-term, we don’t want a short situation for you. It’s a no for now, but I’m here for you. It’s going to come, Ace is still percolating. Let it come.”

16-year-old Ace Stiles, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, made an appearance on the 19th season of American Idol;
16-year-old Ace Stiles, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, made an appearance on the 19th season of American Idol

As the teen sobbed at the rejection, Richie added: “Best class you ever took in your life right here, because what we told you was the key to your future.”

American Idol fans are struggling to understand why singer was rejected

The moment jarred with viewers as the same episode saw an extroverted Pitbull tribute act, Yurisbel, put through despite an evident lack of singing talent.

One YouTuber commenter wrote: “So you let the guy who sang ‘Fireball’ horrendously through because it was comical, but not this boy who sang well and has great potential. He’s far better than Claudia Conway and you put her through? I really don’t understand their decision making this season”.

Another added: “Such a good voice, it’s annoying they didn’t even give him a chance, shy people can blossom if you give them the right tools, that’s what this show is for.”

A third wrote: “What’s wrong with these three? Ace is unique, different, rare, special, not just another copy of the copy of the copy. After that I won’t even watch this show anymore.”

Related topics: Ace Stiles, American Idol, coming out, katy perry, Pitbul, Trans

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