It’s a new season and a new network for the singing competition reality show “American Idol”.

With a new set of judges – Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie – the original host Ryan Seacrest returns for the rebooted series.

The auditions begin in New York City as Idol searches to find the best in country.

The first person to audition on the new Idol is Catie Turner with her guitar and an original song. Katy Perry called her a great songwriter. Luke Bryan said that Catie was interesting and brilliant beyond her years. Lionel loved her voice; adding that her writing was “crazy brain”. Katy Perry said that Catie’s point of view is fresh. The all voted to send Catie to Hollywood.

Ron Bultongez was born the the African Congo and came to the United States as a child. Playing his guitar, he sang “Let it Go” by James Bay for his audition. An excited Luke said that there was something pretty inspiring about Ron; adding that he sang honestly. Katy said that she doesn’t know who Ron is. Noting that Ron was not polished, Luke said that there were several layers to Ron’s voice. Katy doesn’t feel that Ron is ready yet. Lionel agreed that he didn’t know who Ron was; adding that he was going to hold Ron back and wanted him to come back once he had polished his voice a bit more.

During a break the judges talked further and asked Ron to come back. Lionel said that he couldn’t get Ron off of his mind. With yeses from Luke and Lionel, Ron is going to Hollywood.

Maddie Poppie sang “Rainbow Connection” for her audition while she played her guitar. Lionel loved her storyteller voice; adding that he has made a career out of it. Katy said that Maddie had a distinctive quality to her voice. Maddie got three yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.

Musical theater performer Koby sang an original song a cappella for her audition. Katy said that the truth was Koby is not a pop star. Koby said that she was not leaving without a golden ticket. Lionel said that her voice would not work for Idol and popular music. Luke said that by passing Koby through, they were doing her a disservice. After Koby left the room, Luke said that she needed to move to New York. Koby is convinced that she nailed the audition because it is a singing competition.

Next the auditions move to Nashville and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Sixteen year old Harper Grace was among the “terrible National Anthem singers” when she was eleven. Now she is auditioning for “American Idol” with an original song. Katy said that it was a well written song. Luke asked to hear one more. Luke said that she has a great voice. Lionel liked the quality in her voice. Harper got three yeses and her ticket to Hollywood.

Kentucky native Layla Spring brought her little sister to the audition.  She chose a Jackson 5 song for her audition. Katy though that Layla should go to Hollywood but Luke and Lionel felt that she needed more work. But in the end, they gave Layla a ticket to Hollywood.

Cashier Benjamin Glaze likes being a cashier because he can meet cute girls, Luke asked him if he had ever kissed a girl and liked it. Katy gave him a kiss. Luke said that Benjamin needs to work on his craft a bit more. Katy said that it wouldn’t be fair to put him through because there are people who could out sing him. Saying no, Lionel told Benjamin to practice and come back.

An on to Hollywood where Lionel and Ryan had to show off their stars on the Walk of Fame.

Nico Bones chose “Worms” for his audition as he played his electric guitar. Katy called Nico dope. And while Luke and Katy liked him, they gave him a no for Idol.

Arkansas native and nursing student Noah Daivs played piano and sang “Stay” by Rihanna. Luke and Lionel went over and hugged Noah. Noah got his ticket to Hollywood.

On to Disney World and Disney Springs.

Alyssa Raghu sang “Almost is Not Enough” and had Luke and Lionel high fiving behind Katy. Lionel kept saying very good. Katy said that good at 15 and noted that Alyssa’s voice is only going to get better. Luke said that she is so easy on the ears. Lionel is very excited to see where Alyssa is going to go. She got her ticket to Hollywood.

Russian born Sador Milano won a singing competition in Russia and showed off his three octave range right away with his audition. While Sador has talent, Idol was not for him but maybe he should try Broadway.

Back in New York, 16 year old Floridian is a sock collector and brought some for each of the judges and Ryan. In his first audition ever Zach D’Onofrio chose the Frank Sinatra hit “The Way You Look Tonight”. Katy went down and danced with Zach as he sang. Luke and Lionel were dancing together. Lionel called Zach unique. Zach’s talking voice and singing voice are very different – a la Jim Nabors. Luke said that Zach had Sinatra down but pointed out Zach should follow Sinatra and lay back a bit. Lionel said htat Zach killed it and gave Zach his ticket to Hollywood.

Grace Walker got a no from the judges; adding that they would see her next year.

After a series of no clips, in the final audition of the night Dennis Lorenzo made Lionel smile. Lionel called Dennis refreshing. Katy said that it sounded good. Dennis had a guitar with a hole in it and the judges noted that Dennis proved that it wasn’t the instrument but what you did with it. Dennis got three yeses for a ticket to Hollywood.

Auditions continue on Monday night.


feature photo credit: By Josh Hallett from Winter Haven, FL, USA – American Idol Experience – Disney’s Hollywood Studios, CC BY-SA 2.0,