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American Idol contestant with Southeast Texas ties makes it to final 5 after performing song about the Gulf Coast

Fritz Hager III wrote "The Ocean" at the request of his grandmother. He will perform the song almost five years to the day that she died.

BEAUMONT, Texas — An American Idol contestant with Southeast Texas ties performed a song he wrote for his grandmother about the Gulf Coast on Sunday night.

Fritz Hager III, 22, is now one of the final five contestants in the competition.

Hager was born in Dallas but has generational Southeast Texas roots. His song "The Ocean" is a "nostalgic glance back at his summers growing up on the beaches of the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston." 

Hager's maternal grandfather, Joe Drago, lives in Port Arthur with his uncles, aunts and cousins. Hager's paternal grandmother, Jackie Hager, is from Port Arthur and her dad was the publisher for the Port Arthur news.

Hager's paternal grandfather, Fritz Hager Sr., was physician in Beaumont.

Fritz Hager’s mother, Sarina Hager, believes people from all over will be able to identify with her son's song. It’s one he wrote at the request of her mother, Brenda Drago.

Drago asked her grandson to write her a song about their family beach house several years before she died in 2017. Now, he will perform it live on American Idol almost five years to the day that she died.

Drago asked her grandson to write it when he was 13.

“She knew if anyone could write it, it would be Fritz,” Sarina Hager said. “She was loved by Southeast Texas. I think everyone will recognize her name and face when they see the film clips of her.”

Sarina Hager said the song is really special to the entire family.

"We hope people really connect with it as our family has," Sarina Hager said.

Credit: Sarina Hager

The singer released his first extended play called, All My Friends. At one point, the EP was number one on the iTunes pop chart. 

The highest-ranking son has been "The Ocean." The songs were produced and recorded in Tyler with area musicians.

The Hager’s said their son has grown from loving music and pursuing it as a hobby to, “becoming enmeshed with the love of music and music writing,” and pursuing it as a dream.

“It has been stunning,” Sarina Hager said.

Sarina Hager said her son is achieving heights she and her husband never dreamed possible. 

Fritz Hager III’s dad, Fritz Hager II, said a pivotal moment for him was when his son was singing Golden by Harry Styles. The proud father said he always knew his son could sing, but that moment was the first time he saw him as a performer.

“Every performance since then, he has just gotten better and better and better at the performing side of music,” Fritz Hager II said. “This has the potential for Fritz to be a big deal in the music industry.”

The competition started with more than 100,000 people, then about 450 got live auditions. From there, 158 were invited to Hollywood Week which 24 of them survived. 

The competition is now down to five contestants, and Fritz Hager III is included in that five.

Credit: Sarina Hager

Next week, there will be three. The week after next, a winner will be named.

“I was walking around Disney land with one of the producers and I thanked him as a dad for giving him this opportunity,” Fritz Hager II said. "He said, 'Anybody who made it to the top 10 definitely belongs.'"

Regardless of what happens at the end of the competition, the Hager’s said their son is already a winner in their hearts and minds.

“Getting onto American Idol was a win for us,” Sarina Hager said. “A dream come true. Anything beyond this point is just a huge blessing on top of a blessing.”

Fritz Hager III is the second oldest of six children. His parents said his siblings have had the utmost confidence in their brother since the very beginning.

“They have been convinced from the very beginning that he was going to win American Idol.” Sarina Hager said.

The proud parents said they want their son to have a successful career doing what God created him to do, and they believe the Lord created their son to create music.

“He went into this competition hoping he would have career in music,” Fritz Hager II said. “He’s proven already that he has a career.”

Credit: Sarina Hager

The show starts at 7 p.m. central-standard time. There will be live voting during the show, and the Hager's are encouraging Southeast Texans to vote for Fritz.

Those who want to vote can either use the American Idol app, go to the American ldol website or text a contestant's number to 21523.

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