Charlotte native, former NFL player appears on season 22 of American Idol, gets golden ticket – WSOC TV

CHARLOTTE — A Queen City native and former NFL player is trading in his football moves for music and taking the stage in the upcoming season premiere of American Idol, according to our partners at The Charlotte Observer.

Blake Proehl played football at Providence High School before heading to East Carolina University, where he played as a wide receiver. In 2021, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent following that year’s draft, the Observer says.

A torn ACL at training camp caused Prohel to miss his entire rookie season, but he was able to hit the field again in 2022, where he spent the season on the practice squad.

In 2023, Proehl was waived by the Vikings, the Observer reports. His father, Richy Prohel, played in the NFL for more than 15 years, including three for the Carolina Panthers as a wide receiver.

According to, his brother Austin Proehl was drafted in 2018 during the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills. Now, he plays for the St. Louis Battlehawks in the XFL.

The Observer reports that Proehl brought his grandmother to his audition.

“I grew up in a football family,” he said in a preview of the show’s premiere, which was shared on YouTube. “But I got a really bad injury. Doctors said, ‘It’ll be a success story if you’re able to run again.’”

Proehl has gained a following of more than 500,000 on TikTok, where he shares videos of himself singing covers of popular pop songs like ‘Wish You the Best’ and ‘Someone You Loved’, by Lewis Capaldi, the Observer says.

Three years ago, he posted a TikTok of himself playing the piano and singing in front of his grandmother, a post that got him nearly 4 million likes.

“I think I just found music super healing, and my grandma is the reason why I’m here,” Prohel told American Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan during his audition. “She’s the reason why I have any confidence at all to be in this room.”

According to The Observer, Prohel sang a cover of Brett Young’s ‘In Case You Didn’t Know’, which got him a seal of approval from Perry.

“Every grandma thinks that their grandchildren are great, but you’re right,” she told Proehl’s grandmother.

After his performance, the judges presented Proehl with a golden ticket for his next stop: Hollywood.

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Believe in yourself’: Local American Idol contestant inspires students to chase dreams)

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