‘American Idol’ Recap: The Judges Discover Frontrunners & One Who Is ‘Top 10 For Sure’

The 'American Idol' judges witness some of the most incredible auditions yet that have them declaring singers the 'best so far' and 'top 10' material.

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The third episode of American Idol auditions begins with Sara Beth, a 25-year-old mom of three from California. Sara starts out with “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse, and the judges ask her to sing her other song choice. “Show us what your voice can do,” Katy Perry says before Sara sings “Bennie & The Jets” by Elton John.

Luke Bryan acknowledges that Sara is a “great singer,” but Katy feels like Sara’s heart isn’t really in it. “If it’s not your dream, it’s not going to go far,” Katy says. Luke and Katy give her a “yes,” while Lionel Richie says “no.” Sara’s still going to Hollywood!

Adin Boyer
Adin Boyer auditions for ‘American Idol.’ (ABC)

Next up is Tanner Charles. The 20-year-old from Oklahoma is currently a valet. He sings an original song called “Golden Eyes” that he wrote for his girlfriend, who watches his audition. “That was exceptional,” Katy says. Lionel thinks the “sky’s the limit” for Tanner. Luke tells Tanner that he’s “one of the best I’ve personally seen at telling a story.” The judges’ praise leads to a ticket to Hollywood for Tanner.

Mikey Burson steps in front of the judges with his mom at the piano. He sings “Cold As Ice” by Foreigner for his audition. Luke admits that the performance seemed “a little big loungey to me.” Katy thinks that Mikey is still “in the discovery phase” of his singing journey. Katy doesn’t think he’s ready, while Lionel and Luke give him a “yes.”

Adin Boyer Stuns With His ‘Perfect Pitch’

Adin Boyer is a 22-year-old music teacher from California. He was 2 years old when he was diagnosed with autism. When he was diagnosed, his parents discovered he had perfect pitch. He has auditory sensory issues and wants to inspire others who are neurodiverse.

He performs his original song “Predicament” for the judges. “That was incredible,” Lionel says. Luke tells Adin that the “only way to make this work is if you really hear us on vocal choices.” Adin gets a “yes” from all 3 judges to head to Hollywood.

Olivia Soli
Olivia Soli auditions for ‘American Idol.’ (ABC)

Wé Ani throws the judges with her high-pitched speaking voice, but it’s 100 percent her real voice. The 23-year-old then surprises the judges even more with her powerful rendition of “Anyone” by Demi Lovato. “You are amazing,” Lionel raves. “This class is shaping up to be ridiculous!” Wé is headed to Hollywood.

Marybeth Byrd has come all the way from her small town of Armorel, Arkansas, to start the next chapter of her career. The 21-year-old performs a stunning rendition of The SteelDrivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been For Love.”

Lionel declares, “You opened your mouth and it was correct, period,” Lionel says. Luke sees a “very bright future” for Marybeth. The young singer takes a moment to tell Katy how much she’s inspired her to be herself. Marybeth easily gets a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Olivia Soli Is Declared The ‘Best So Far’

Olivia Soli takes a risk by performing Lionel’s “Hello” for her audition. The risk pays off because her rendition is truly incredible. Lionel gets out of his seat to hug Olivia after her performance. He tells her that she’s the “best so far in this audition.” Luke agrees and calls Olivia “tremendous.” Katy believes Olivia’s ready for the next steps and admits they’re probably going to push her harder because she’s so good. Olivia’s going to Hollywood!

Preston Duffee
Preston Duffee during his audition. (ABC)

Preston Duffee hasn’t had the easiest last couple of years. Two years ago, his mother took her own life after struggling with bipolar disorder and depression. He performs the original song he wrote after his mom died. The judges give Preston a standing ovation. “Songwriting is a skill and you nailed that,” Lionel says. Katy feels like she’s looking at a “young Luke Bryan.” Preston gets a “yes” from all 3 judges. “Keep writing, keep digging, and keep fighting,” Luke says.

Emma Busse is a recent theater school graduate from Vancouver. The 20-year-old sings “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John. The judges have a few pointers for her and want her to “unlearn” some stuff. They have her sing “Happy Birthday” several times and see some potential in her. Emma is going to Hollywood.

Keelin may just have the next TikTok jam on her hands. The singer is originally from Ireland but lives in New York. She performs her original song “Don’t Call Me.” Katy says Keelin reminds her of Meghan Trainor. “That song showed me some promise,” Katy says. Lionel calls the audition “memorable.” While Luke says “no,” Lionel and Katy give her the “yes” she needs to go to Hollywood.

Elijah McCormick
Elijah McCormick during his ‘American Idol.’ (ABC)

Elijah McCormick Is ‘Top 10 For Sure’

The final audition comes from Elijah McCormick, who almost died after getting into a car accident in 2019. He flatlined 9 times as the doctors fought to save his life. He was in the hospital for 79 days and had 10 surgeries. Lionel calls him a “golden child,” and Elijah admits that the doctors also called him “golden child” at the hospital.

His performance of “Bless the Broken Road” brings Lionel to tears. “God brought you back 9 times for you to do something amazing,” Lionel tells Elijah. Elijah’s mom had signed him up for American Idol before his accident, which makes Katy believe this is all “meant to be.” Elijah is going to Hollywood, and Katy remarks that he is “top 10 for sure.”