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'American Idol' -- The Cowboy Deception

2/3/2011 11:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

John Wayne is not who he appears to be ... at least, he's not the innocent, never-left-the-ranch, amateur singer he was made out to be on last night's "American Idol."


Turns out, 23-year-old John Wayne Schulz has a pretty impressive past in the music world -- a past "Idol" producers conveniently neglected to mention when they painted him as an "aww shucks" wannabe who finally stumbled off the family ranch for the first time in his life to try out for the show.

JW not only released an album by the time he was 14 years old -- one of his songs was considered for 7 Grammy nominations!!!!

The CEO of John Wayne's old record label tells John only recorded that one album -- explaining, "He's of Mormon faith, and he had to go on his church mission. He was gone for two years, and we just weren't able to reconnect once he returned."

020311_american_idol_video_2Apparently, it's easier to connect with the folks over at "A.I."



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American Idol like all reality shows will do anything for ratings! No surprise here and no harm done!!

1359 days ago


That all happend 9 years ago. God forbid Idol highlight a man of character. Are you trashing him because he is a Christian?

1359 days ago


Mormons are NOT Christians!

1359 days ago


1359 days ago


Mormons ARE Christians...Adam Lambert was a professional...get over yourselves...

1359 days ago

GEL one of the main reasons I won't watch Idol or any other musical show. The show itself doesn't represent the contestants as who they really are, they put "ringers" in and make them out to be like this awe shucks singer from no-where USA with no experience. Nashville Star was REALLY bad about that. These shows are all rigged!

1359 days ago

Steelers suck    

Rich, get off your high "christian" horse. Not everything is against the christians, geez. But I thought AI was supposed to be about people who never had a recording contract. You know, to get one. This sounds rigged to me. No wonder I don't watch this lame show.

1359 days ago


Who gives a damn his faith or his past, Hes ****in cute, good at what he does, and we could use some good competition on the show!! Looks like some ppl may be a lil scared....

1359 days ago


Have you heard of him before? He must not be THAT professional. If the rule say he can participate then this isn't a big deal. And, to #4 -- Mormons are Christian.

1359 days ago


Idol lied for ratings? Shocker.

1359 days ago


lots of artists put out a CD, doesn't mean they get bought up. If he got a grammy for his writings that is awesome. I think they betrayed it but he is still good and deserves a shot at it.

I wish my friend would do it. sighhh

1359 days ago


Mormons are not Christians. Mormons do not believe in the same Christ as Christians. Mormons are Mormons. Christians are Christians.

1359 days ago


Amen #13!!!

1359 days ago

Stupid People Hater    

I thought you couldn't be on the show with creds like that?

1359 days ago


A.I. has always had a stated policy that contestants must not CURRENTLY have a recording contract. They've had lots of contestants over the years that had contracts at one time or another and just couldn't get their careers going the first time around. I agree that their presentation of Schulz was deceptive, but it's completely within the rules of the show.

1359 days ago
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