Reagan High School graduate gets golden ticket on ‘American Idol’

You can see Dawson Rice, aka Dawson Wayne, perform during round 1 in Hollywood on April 2

NEISD graduate Dawson Wayne (Rice) got a golden ticket to Hollywood after auditioning for the American Idol judges on season 21. (America Idol)

SAN ANTONIO – A Reagan High School graduate is “Going to Hollywood!”

American Idol judges gave a golden ticket to Dawson Rice who’s using the stage name Dawson Wayne in the television singing competition.

If you missed his audition, you’re not alone. His audition did not air.

But, his mom confirmed to KSAT that he made it to Hollywood and we can watch his round 1 performance on April 2.

NEISD graduate Dawson Wayne (Rice) got a golden ticket to Hollywood after auditioning for the American Idol judges on season 21. (America Idol)

Wayne first auditioned over Zoom last August and beat out thousands of hopefuls for a spot to sing in front of Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

He auditioned in Nashville and was among the approximately 150 people to get a golden ticket, receiving a “yes” from all three judges.

Perry told Wayne he was a storyteller and “an artist in the making.”

“I love where you’re singing from — deep within, from a spiritual place,” Bryan told him.

Richie told him that he had skills and awareness of who he was as a vocalist.

“Dawson always appears so calm on the surface, but this is truly his dream!” mom Jana Rice said. “When he came out of the audition room with his golden ticket, I was standing with Ryan Seacrest and Ryan said to Dawson, ‘You seem very Zen.’ Dawson replied, ‘This is my excited face,’ to which I replied, ‘It’s true, but I’m excited for both of us!’ I hope everyone gets to know the Dawson we love and adore and appreciates his gift as much as we do. He is authentic, hard-working and genuinely cares about the happiness of others. We were not in Hollywood with him so we will be watching him for the first time with the rest of America and we can’t wait!”

If you’d like to hear Wayne sing before Sunday, you can follow him on Instagram and Tiktok.

But, we will have to find out with the rest of America whether he makes it to the top 24.

The top 24 will be cut down to 16 and then to 12.

The top 12 compete on the live shows.

Wayne graduated from Reagan in 2020.

As a Rattler, he was pit captain and drum major for the marching band. He participated in Soundsations and Chamber Choir and performed on-stage in “Hello Dolly” and “Titanic.”

For his performance in “Titanic,” he won a $4,000 scholarship in the Best Male Lead in a High School Musical Competition category at the Joci Awards.

He is now a student at Brigham Young University.

“He wants to give a very special thank you to everyone involved in the Reagan HS Fine Arts program,” NEISD said in a Facebook post. “He says they played an essential role in his journey.”

“American Idol” airs on ABC at 7 p.m. on Sundays.

About the Authors:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.