American Idol‘s audition round is coming to a close: On the season’s first Monday show, judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie saw a great assortment of talent that included a backflipping pipeliner, a dog groomer, a country couple, and a ballet dancer.
Luke also got pranked by a stagehand and a contestant that weren’t who they appeared to be—it was quite a memorable evening! In the end, who secured golden tickets? Who received the last platinum fastpass to bypass the start of Hollywood Week? Find out below.
The 26-year-old from Como, North Carolina, came in dressed the part, in Katy’s eyes. The music director and chorus teacher sounded the part too as he sang “Knocks Me Off My Feet” by Stevie Wonder. Katy could feel the nerves in his vocals and wanted a little more movement away from the piano. He demonstrated some on “Uptown Funk.” Luke thought he had it going on and was worthy of being thrown into the competition. Lionel appreciated the showmanship. Katy said he had the stardust and all the fundamentals to build an American Idol.
The outdoorsy 17-year-old from Fombell, Pennsylvania, won Luke over right out of the gate with her love of huntin’, fishin’, and lovin’ every day. Then she solidified it with “Can’t Be Loved” by Elle King. The high school student sang in memory of her grandmother, who had passed away from ovarian cancer. Katy thought the performance was amazing. Lionel loved her style. Luke and Katy see at least Top 20 material.
The 25-year-old Clevelander went in excited to finally meet “Lukey Pookie.” This ray of sunshine came to the audition to show her baby girl that no dream was too big. She chose “How Do I Live.” The judges agreed she wasn’t quite there yet: Lionel said she just needs time. Luke doesn’t think she is ready. Katy thought she was brave to come out, but there are still big shoes to fill. However, they do appreciate her spirit.
Kaylin Roberson and Matt Gorman
The 23-year-olds living in Nashville were looking to see their Hollywood musical aspirations come true as a couple. They performed an original called “Fast Forever.” Luke said they complement each other with Kaylin having a big voice. Katy thought Kaylin stood out. Luke liked Matt’s tone but felt he need to expand his range, and added that Kaylin could spar for the best country voice in the field. Kaylin was given the golden ticket while Matt will have to support from the sidelines.
The 18-year-old from Newalla, Oklahoma, went viral after her dad filmed her as a child performing Ariana Grande. Her dad has since left her mom, and Saylor wanted to prove she can pursue singing without him. The babysitter chose “All I Want” by Kodaline. Lionel applauded her for fighting through the performance despite getting emotional. Luke loved her voice. Saylor is sailing on to Hollywood.
The Nashville makeup artist came in like any other contestant. Until a stagehand began causing interruptions with a chip bag. It turned out the 27-year-old Schyler wasn’t there just to sing “My Church” by Maren Morris. And the staff member was actually Luke’s wife, Caroline, who colluded with Katy to play a prank on the country superstar. Turns out Schyler had actually auditioned on the show (see above) a few times over the years, making it to Hollywood during Season 12.
Yes, this is American Idol, but that hasn’t stopped the Kamloops, British Columbia, native from chasing the dream. The backflipping pipeliner surprised the judges with Waylon Jennings’ “Rock Salt and Nails.” Katy thought it was awesome how the 18-year-old’s singing voice and talking voice are different. Lionel felt the tone he had if organized could be something amazing but said no for now. Katy countered there was something there. Luke’s yes was enough for the Canadian to continue on in the competition.
The 16-year-old from Cleveland impressed the judges with Brandi Carlile’s “The Joke.” Katy felt she can really project. Luke, noting she sang a little through her teeth, appeared on the fence. Lionel liked the tone at the end, but it’s a dice roll. The three decided to roll the dice on raw talent.
The 28-year-old talked about his journey to Los Angeles and how he’d found himself homeless in Atlanta at one point. The songwriter started out with “Dive” by Ed Sheeran, then tried an original. Luke loved his voice in certain moments but thought at times he tried too hard. Lionel liked the texture of his voice. Katy preferred the original song and said he needed to concentrate more on the delivery in building more of a connection. Luke said no, but Lionel and Katy put him through.
The 23-year-old dog groomer turned heads with “My Song” by Elton John. Katy said the dogs were lucky for getting to hear that voice. Luke called the Californian a star. Lionel appreciated the nuances but doesn’t want her to overthink things. It looks like her furry clients will have to wait on future appointments.
The 23-year-old from Salisbury, Maryland, shined on “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. The judges gave him a standing ovation. Lionel liked how he owned it and had fun. Luke said he would be able to electrify a crowd. They thought he was the perfect candidate to receive the platinum ticket for Austin. He’ll get to skip a round of Hollywood Week.
The 25-year-old from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, made the trip from Germany, where he is a dancer for the Semperoper Ballett. It was Brandon Boyd of Incubus who saw one of his YouTube videos and thought he should audition. He chose “For All We Know” by Donny Hathaway. Lionel said Skyler brought them an element they have never experienced. Luke liked his phrasing and how he held notes. Katy wanted to see a little dancing—and she got it. Skyler pirouetted into Hollywood Week.
American Idol, Sundays and Mondays, 8/7c, ABC