The global pandemic rages on and live music performances are still on hold; but the competition reality series “American Idol” returns for another season with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie.

Backflipping Benson Boone gets the auditions started off singing and playing the piano. He impressed the judges with his performance; bringing Lionel and Luke to their feet. Katy said that she sees Benson winning Idol. He got his golden ticket to Hollywood.

Country boy Alex Miller brought his guitar to perform an original song for his audition. The 17 year old thrilled Luke and Lionel. Luke came out and sang with Alex. Lionel called the performance something special. Alex got his ticket to Hollywood.

Jason Warrior took on the legendary Marvin Gaye for his audition and brought the judges to their feet dancing. Lionel said that very few people could turn a Marvin Gaye song into their own; adding that it was phenomenal and one of the strongest performances he had heard. Katy called the performance magnificent. Jason got his ticket to Hollywood.

After some no clips, Ryan Romano took on Sir Elton John’s “Rocket Man” for his audition playing his portable keyboard impressed the judges with his showmanship but felt he lacked the vocals. Katy loved Ryan’s coat and offered him $400 for the coat.

Anilee List has been performing most of her life. Luke Kept saying amazing after her performance. The judges called the audition flawless. Anilee got her ticket to Hollywood. Lionel said that he can’t wait to see where it goes.

Danaica Steakley brought her Dad to accompany her on her audition. Katy called Danica talented but noted she could hear that she was 17 and a bit timid. Lionel was impressed with the high end, saying that Danica doesn’t know her voice yet. Luke said that she has all the makings to be a great singer, but needs to get out there and gig. Danica didn’t get her ticket to Hollywood after getting no’s from the guys. Her Dad was angry at the judge’s remarks.

Several singers brought their Dad’s to help out with the auditions.

DJ Johnson comes from a large musical family; she played the piano and sang an original song for her audition. She got very emotional during the song and Lionel offered her his handkerchief and told her to take her time. Luke asked if she wanted her Dad and they brought him in for some support. The judges noted that they wanted to give her a hug bug couldn’t. Katy and Lionel also got emotional during the performance. Lionel said that the message in the song was a hit record and the delivery was honest. Luke noted wondered how she got through the song; adding that she is very talented. Katy noted that some of the greatest artists have gotten that way because of the pain in their life. JD got her ticket to Hollywood with three yeses.

Dressed in black and white, Katy pretened to be a cow and Luke was cow tipping her.

Nia Renee had the judges attention from her first note with her performance of “Chain of Fools”. Luke said that Nia was born to do it. Katy said that Nia has a power in her voice. Nia got her ticket to Hollywood. Lionel said that they have never had anything like that.

After more clips of no performances, Claudia Conway – the daughter of Kelly Ann and George Conway – performed the Rhianna song “Love on the Brain” for her audition but got stopped by Katy, noting that she lost it. Katy gave her another chance to sing a different song. Luke noted that Claudia is singing like she is 16; adding that it was great. Lionel noted that Claudia showed that she can take coaching. Claudia got her ticket to Hollywood despite a no from Luke.

Bobby Bones returns as the Idol mentor this season.

Hoping to impress the judges for his talent and not for his appearance – he came into his audition wearing socks, shoes, and bikini shorts. It was a no for Mario.

Closing out the debut of a new season, Grace Kinstler wowed the judges with her performance of “Midnight Train to Georgia”. Luke asked what her other song would be and Grace sang “Natural Woman”. Katy told her to sing it like the legend she wanted to be. Lionel noted that Grace has great control of her voice. Luke said that it was the first time on the show that someone’s singing made his cry. Katy said Grace gave her chills. Luke compared Grace’s audition to that of Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson. Grace got her ticket to Hollywood.