‘American Idol’ Alum Colin Stough Surprises ‘Singing Barber’ During Audition

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Colin Stough

Heavy/ABC "American Idol" season 21 finalist Colin Stough makes a surprise appearance during the season 22 auditions with Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Colin Stough

The newest episode of season 22 auditions on “American Idol” features a surprise appearance by Colin Stough who took third place on the show less than a year ago. During an audition by Noah Peters, known on social media as “The Singing Barber.”

Though the Southern rock musician finished season 21 behind winner Iam Tongi and runner-up Megan Danielle, the eight months since the May 2023 finale have been a whirlwind for the rising star, who moved to Nashville, landed a record deal, and has been busy touring the U.S.

Singing Barber Noah Peters Starstruck During Colin Stough’s Surprise Appearance

In a preview of the episode airing on February 25, 2024, ABC revealed that Stough surprised not only Peters during his audition, but also celebrity judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan.

In the video, Peters says he’s the only barber in his hometown of Benton, Tennessee, and has become known on social media as “The Singing Barber.” With nearly a million followers on TikTok, Peters posts videos of himself singing to his clients as he cuts their hair.

After growing out his hair to shoulder-length since appearing on “Idol,” Stough saunters onto the set mid-audition. Stunned, Peters says to his guitarist, “That’s Colin Stough!”

“We found somebody who could use a cut right now,” host Ryan Seacrest exclaims, wheeling in a tray of styling tools to set next to a barber’s chair the crew had already moved in.

“Oh my god,” Bryan says as Stough hugs Peters. “You do need it — you need a haircut!”

Starstruck, Peters tells Seacrest, “I ain’t never cut nobody like Colin.”

“Well, listen, his hair’s just like everybody else’s hair,” Seacrest assures him.

Peters then asks Stough to sing with him as he trims up his hair, suggesting a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos.” After they sing the first bar together and Peters continues on his own, Stough nods, raises his eyebrows and mouths the word “good” to the judges.

“Whatchu think, Colin?” Bryan asks, and Stough responds, “I like him!”

Bryan then jokes that they’re bringing a “Singing Masseuse” in next and, cracking up the judges, Stough replies, “Bring him in, bring him in! I’ll take my boot off, he can rub my feet, too!”

“What a surprise,” Perry says. “Nice to see you, Colin. We love you!”

Before leaving the set, Stough tells Peters, “No matter what the outcome is, keep going. Keep keeping on. Life’s a garden — dig it!”

Here’s What Colin Stough Has Been Up To Since ‘American Idol’

Stough has had a wild year since auditioning for “Idol” shortly after his 2022 high school graduation. Working as an HVAC repairman in his tiny town of Gattman, Mississippi, his raspy voice and southern charm captured the judges attention and he went on to impress viewers, too.

After placing third on the show, Stough decided to move to Nashville to build on the momentum the show gave him. He was offered a record deal with 19 Entertainment, the division of BBR Music and BMG that works with “Idol” winners and, occasionally, with other finalists who appear to have serious star power and talent.

19 Entertainment has supported and promoted Stough steadily since his run on “Idol,” calling him “one of the most buzzed about newcomers in country music today” in a fall 2023 press release about his first EP, “Promiseland.” They’ve also connected him with songwriters in Nashville to develop new music with.

Stough has also received help and encouragement from other country stars, including Chase Matthew, who took Stough under his wing early on. Just a week after the “Idol” finale, Stough shared an Instagram photo from his first night hanging out with Matthew by a bonfire as well as a video of them riding motorbikes.

“So, when I came off the show and came to Nashville, I didn’t really have a place to live,” he told Country Now. “But Chase Matthew, man, he’s a great guy. He pretty much opened up — I’ve stayed at his house a ton. I actually just moved out last night. He’s put food on the table for me. My motorcycle is at his house in his garage, right now.”

Stough has also hung out with Jelly Roll, who will appear on season 22 of “Idol” as a mentor to contestants in Hawaii, and other Nashville stars.

Thinking he’d have a hard time meeting people in Nashville, he told Country Now, “I was saying in my own mind, ‘I’m the new kid on the block.’ But no, you’d be surprised at how many people text me to hang out, like ERNEST. I was at Big Loud the other day, writing. He showed up and introduced himself. I have a lot of respect for people like that.”

Stough has a full touring schedule ahead of him, opening for Matthew at shows through March and multiple festivals booked across the U.S. this spring. Stough is often accompanied by his girlfriend, former beauty queen McKenzie Rhett, who he started dating last fall.

“American Idol” season 22 airs Sundays at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.