American Idol is known for finding superstars, and the search begins again with season 20. Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie are traveling across the country to look for America’s next big thing. Along the way, they’re going to encounter some truly incredible talents with amazing stories.
Noah Thompson kicks off the season 20 auditions. Noah is a 19-year-old construction worker from Kentucky. His best friend, Arthur, signed him up for the show. He showcases his talents during his audition. “You are the American dream,” Katy tells him. He admits that he’s “never had confidence” in himself. That’s all about to change because he’s going to Hollywood!
‘American Idol’ Season 20 Auditions Begin
Normandy steps in front of the judges next, and she’s quite the unique contestant. The 29-year-old from Baltimore is a gamer and refers to her fans as “Kitten Nuggets.” Normandy has a high-pitched voice that gives off major “baby voice” vibes. The second she starts singing, Katy gets out of her seat and walks out. Normandy’s singing voice is the complete opposite of her regular voice.
Normandy starts out by singing “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner and later belts out “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele. Her vocals are unreal. The judges are excited to see what Normandy has in store for them, so they’re sending her to Hollywood.
Nicolina is just 18 years old, but she’s ready for her breakout moment. She wows with her rendition of “He Used To Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles. “That was so good. I felt your whole life story in that song,” Katy says. Lionel raves that Nicolina is a star. Needless to say, she’s going to Hollywood!
Katy Perry Cries Over An Audition
Tyler Allen is next up. The 24-year-old from Alabama has come to Idol to dedicate his performance to his late nephew, who passed away after a terrible car accident. Tyler says his nephew “just started walking and talking” when he died. “Putting them to rest was the hardest thing,” Tyler admits. Katy begins to cry even before Tyler starts to sing.
He sings a stunning rendition of “I Believe in You and Me” by Whitney Houston, the song he used to sing to his nephew. Katy breaks down in tears during Tyler’s performance. All three judges give him a standing ovation. “Katy is an absolute wreck,” Luke says. Lionel tells Tyler that he is a star. “It’s just God-given,” Katy says. Tyler is one to watch when he gets to Hollywood Week!
Grace Franklin is music royalty. The 16-year-old is Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter! She performs the Lauryn Hill version of “Killing Me Softly.” Luke says the performance was a “little sleepy and subdued for me.” The judges ask her to sing a second song, so Grace sings her grandmother’s song “Ain’t No Way.” Luke gives her a “no,” while Katy recognizes Grace’s “stardust” and gives her a “yes.”
It’s down to Lionel. She knows what he’s going to do. “I quit this. I’m going to the bar,” Katy says as she walks out after realizing Lionel is siding with Luke. Lionel wants Grace to get a little more experience and come back next year. Grace says Aretha “would have been proud of me for even trying.” After Grace’s audition, Katy comes after Lionel with a chair!
The First Platinum Ticket Is Given
HunterGirl is a country girl from Tennessee. The 23-year-old works with veterans in music therapy. She wants to bring her talents to American Idol. She wows the judges with her performance of a Rascal Flatts song. They give her a standing ovation. Luke thinks HunterGirl will make the Top 10 and calls her a “new age Miranda Lambert.” He goes on to say that HunterGirl is “my favorite female country voice that I’ve heard in 5 years.”
Later, Luke and the judges ask HunterGirl to perform at Luke’s bar in Nashville. They decide to surprise her during the performance and give her a Platinum Ticket! The Platinum Ticket is a season 20 twist. It means “you are the best of the best in your audition.” There are three Platinum Tickets to give out. The recipients will get to bypass the first round of Hollywood Week.
Delaney Renee has found her way to Idol because of the woman who hired her to be a babysitter! The 18-year-old went viral on TikTok after her employee posted a video of Delaney singing “Part of Your World.” American Idol found her and asked her to audition. She slays her performance of Sia’s “Opportunity.” The judges send her to Hollywood!
The final performance of the season 20 premiere is from Taylor Fagins. He wows with his original song that honors George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. The judges are stunned by his performance. “That was very powerful,” Lionel says. The judges are unanimous in sending him to Hollywood.