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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."

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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 Billboard.com 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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113 COMMENTS

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46.

EZ4U2C    

I watch tv for entertainment, I really do not care one way or another if someone is professional or not I only want to be entertained. TMZ it must be a very SLOW day for you!!! If anyone thinks all reality tv is not all about ratings and they will do whatever to get those rating you better stop watching tv all together!!!!

1355 days ago
47.

pumpiumpiumkin    

I'm surprised the family didn't promote their religion on the show. Mormons are conditioned to use every opportunity they can to push their religion/cult. Many if not most of the young men are pressured to go on missions due to family and church authority. They don't all go willingly even though they are too afraid to admit it. All Mormons are afraid to look like a bad Mormon. I was a Moron for almost 50 years and now I am the world's happiest ex-mo atheist. If he lied about his past successes then he certainly isn't the first Mormon to lie publicly. I lied for most of my life every time I claimed to know the church was true.

1355 days ago
48.

Sugarbutt    

He didn't use the N word did he?

1355 days ago
49.

Hilda    

Wow. There are some angry, bitter people on here. If you don't like Mormons, fine. But to be so angry and bitter about it makes me wonder about YOU, not them!

Why are people blaming John Wayne for the way AI portrayed him? Is that HIS fault? They would know about his past and THEY are the ones who edited it this way. Not his fault so stop saying he lied or blame him. Sheesh. I'm not a fan of country music but I think he had a nice voice. When I watched his audition I wondered how he would handle theme weeks if he made it that far. Don't think he'll go all the way, but good luck to him.

1355 days ago
50.

DARREN JULIAN    

OK TO THE PERSON REFERING TO MORMONS AS NOT CHRISTIANS , HOW IS IT WE PREACH OF CHRIST , WE TESTIFY OF CHRIST , WE HAVE HIS NAME ON ALL OUR BUILDING , WE DO ALL THINGS IN HIS NAME AND YET YOU CALL US NON CHRISTIAN. CANT SEE HOW THAT IS POSSIBLE WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT. I KNOW THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST , HE LIVED AND WALKED THIS EARTH , I KNOW THAT HE SUFFERED DEARLY IN THE GARDEN AND ATONED FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD. I DO NOT NEED TO FEEL THE NAIL MARKS TO KNOW HE LIVES. SO HOW IS IT I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN??

1355 days ago
51.

Snowballx    

7 grammy nominations?!?!

1355 days ago
52.

Cathie    

I personally know this young man and what you see IS what you get - nothing more, nothing less. He is the real thing, you WILL be seeing and hearing a lot more of him. No doubt about it.

1355 days ago
53.

mbm    

the Mormons have a huge stronghold in the entertainment industry like the $cientologists. typical mafia cult

1355 days ago
54.

Aimes    

I've known this guy for years and used to sing with him on the Texas Opry circuit. What TMZ is saying is CRAP and I find it very unfortunate that you people take whatever this gossip rag puts out at face value. Put down the pitchforks, torches, and bibles and give the cowboy a chance!

1355 days ago
55.

Mike    

To Phoenix:
Many christian religions have conflicting or contradictory beliefs. Is any religion that does not have the same exact set of beliefs as you not christian? I thought christianity was based upon a belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God, etc. The LDS religion does depart from some traditional teachings because of the belief that, through the ages, certain pure and simple truths were lost or changed by men. A sentiment shared by men such as Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and others. The Mormons definitely believe in the Bible and the truths contained therein. As far as becoming a God, they believe in eternal progression. I like the analogy of my relationship with my earthly father. He is my father and always will be, there is nothing that can change that and I cannot replace him as my father. That does not prevent me, however, from becoming a father myself with my own children. I think that fits in well with a loving Heavenly Father wanting his children to learn and progress as far as possible.

1355 days ago
56.

day80    

Why is it that if anyone else mentions their religion everyone is fine? But someone mentions they're mormon and everyone freaks out?

1355 days ago
57.

Cari    

First off John Wayne, you are awesome! Aggie lover and LDS yes!

Second of all for all you people who clearly have no idea what you are talking about, the church is named The CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. If you want to read more about the church you should go to www.lds.com not some ex-mormon website. You wouldn't go to the jewish website to learn about catholics would you?

Third, this show is meant to focus on TALENT, not religion.

1355 days ago
58.

chzman    

So much to go over here...
#4, 13, 14...Mormonism IS a sect of Christianity...A Mormon is an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement of Christianity. Christianity refers to any group that, in one form or another, believes in Christ.
#15 must be ancient! Country has changed with the times, just as any other genre of music. Rap/rock are not the same today as they were back in the 80's but it is still rap/rock.
#All: AI is rigged and we all know it. They aren't going to allow a person to win that cannot sell records - be it for looks, talent, or musical genre. They make the person win that will make them the most money by means of selling the most albums. As stated, it's a reality show. How realistic are ANY of the reality shows? Whether it's 8 kids, or living at the shore, or being a rich housewife...are any of these reality shows...REAL? I think not. They are as real as the sript they follow when the producers send them on trips, shopping sprees, baking challenges etc.
You need to start looking at AI as just another show to entertain us. And keep in mind, what's entertainment to one, may be a migraine to another.

1355 days ago
59.

Debbie    

I think he should only be judged on what he did last night! I feel what he did as a child is irrelevant.

1355 days ago
60.

LISA    

I went to a "Christian" High school and i use that term loosely. In my life I never meet people who were so mean, untrustworthy, hyprocrates, and would do anything to put down other religions including the jews who were the first christians. I was raised in the mormon church, there i have meet so many caring, warm , friendly and family oriented people. It is sad to me to see all of the mean sprited things that people say who dont know what they are talking about. The young man performed really well last night so lets chastize him for something he did when he was younger, and his religion. How sad this world has come. People who probably open thier mouth and many bones pop out. Maybe you should look in the mirror first, talk to god and make sure you are living right before you put down someone else

1355 days ago
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