American Idol is back! The show that turned ordinary people such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and more into household names has returned.
New Network And Faces
American Idol is on a new television network. The only person that has been with the show since its humble beginnings on FOX is Live with Kelly and Ryan co-host Ryan Seacrest. As Seacrest continues to his role, there are three new judges on the panel. Country music superstar Luke Bryan, music icon Lionel Richie, and pop superstar Katy Perry.
Audition #1 - Catie Turner
After a moving voiceover from Carrie Underwood, the show kicked started its journey in New York City. Seventeen-year-old Catie Turner skipped school to audition in front of the shows. She has watched the show since the beginning with her mother. Despite her Mary Katherine Gallagher demeanor, Turner played them her original song, "21st Century Machine." Perry called her a spectacular songwriter, while Bryan called her "brilliant and interesting beyond her years." Turner received the first unanimous "Yes" of the reboot and the first Golden Ticket of the season.
Audition #2 - Ron Bultongez
Ron was born and raised in the Congo and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was 10-years-old. He overcame an abusive childhood to find love and inspire his son. He tackled James Bay's "Let It Go" for his chance for a Golden Ticket, and he excited Bryan. However, Perry and Richie did not know who he was as an artist, passed on him and invited him back once he found his identity as an artist. One hour after his audition, Richie changed his mind and gave him a Golden Ticket.
Audition #3 - Maddie Poppe
In a brief montage, Poppe gave viewers chills with her compelling cover of "The Rainbow Connection." Richie admired her storytelling voice and received a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Audition #4 - Koby
Colorado musical theatre actress Koby just performed in The Producers and had been rehearsing for this moment for a while. She performed an original song that showcased her bombastic range and her operatic education background. Koby had a lot of vocal runs in her audition, but the judges torpedoed her chances and said "No." After Koby left the room, they believed that she would be the next Kristin Chenoweth.
Audition #5 - Harper Grace
The first audition of the Nashville, Tennessee tour stop belonged to 16-year-old Harper Grace. Six years ago, Grace sang the worst National Anthem of all-time. The longtime American Idol fan sang an original song, "Yard Sale," in front of the trio. Perry loved her songwriting style, but Bryan wanted another song. She sang Khalid's "Young, Dumb, and Broke." Richie and Bryan loved her voice and along with Perry, they gave her a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Audition #6 - Layla Spring
Kentucky native Layla Spring brought her little sister Dyxie into her audition in front of the judges. All three judges loved Dyxie's performance and gave her a Golden Ticket for 2026. Spring sang "Who's Lovin' You?" for her official audition and delivered a superb vocal performance. Richie was scared that the opportunity was going to destroy her, but he joined Perry and Bryan in giving her a Golden Ticket.
Audition #7 - Benjamin Glaze
Nineteen-year-old socially awkward cashier Benjamin Glaze got the biggest surprise of his life when he kissed Katy Perry, who kissed him on the lips! However, Glaze's vocals made Richie cringe. Bryan was honest with his critique and stated that Glaze needed to work on his craft. The other judges agreed with Bryan but wanted him to come back in two years.
Audition #8 - Noah Davis
The show headed to Los Angeles for the next round of auditions. Eighteen-year-old nursing student Noah Davis connected with Perry on the power of "WIG" and wanted an alpaca if he won American Idol. Davis sang Rihanna and Mikky Ekko's "Stay" on the piano for his audition and commanded the room. He received a hug from all three judges, and Davis's vocals snatched Perry's imaginary wig off, and it was back in Davis' home state of Arkansas. The judges gave him a Golden Ticket to the next round.
Audition #9 - Alyssa Raghu
Fifteen-year-old Alyssa Raghu has an impeccable bond with her father as her birth mother abandoned them when she was 2-years-old. The Orlando, Florida native hoped to make her father proud with her audition. She tackled Ariana Grande and Nathan Sykes's "Almost Is Never Enough." Raghu could have reminded viewers of a very young Carole King with her performance. Perry got goosebumps from her and called her Top 10 material. The trio gave her a Golden Ticket to Hollywood, and her father gave her a giant hug.
Audition #10 - Sardor Milano
Back in New York City, Sardor Milano auditioned for the judges. He won one of Russia's most prestigious singing competitions, but he wanted to find success in America. Milano delivered an octave-defying performance that left Richie speechless. The trio said "No," but advised him off-camera to audition for Broadway.
Audition #11 - Zach D'Onofrio
Zach D'Onofrio gave the judges a unique present, socks that matched their personality. However, he got the ultimate prize when he danced with Perry while he sang Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight." Richie stated that D'Onofrio killed his audition and gave him a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Audition #12 - Dennis Lorenzo
The final audition of the night belonged to 26-year-old West Philadelphia native Dennis Lorenzo. He overcame a rough childhood as his father died when he was 5-years-old and it was his grandparents that put him on the right path when they gave him his first guitar at 16. Lorenzo delivered a solid audition with an Allen Stone song and Richie smiled throughout the entire performance. Bryan stated that Lorenzo was the reason why he signed up to do the show. The trio gave Lorenzo the first standing ovation of the season and the final Golden Ticket of the night.