American Idol 2022: Contestants to Watch
The super exciting American Idol season 20 premiere is under a month away on February 27th. We have gotten tidbits, teasers, and some spoilers regarding contestants. First, we highlighted hopefuls you may know from other reality shows, social media and more. Now that ABC has released a couple of promos featuring contestants, we’re highlighting the ones to watch!
Please do keep the comments section spoiler free. If you love the spoilers, and want to know outcomes, check out our Top 59 Spoiler post HERE.
American Idol 2022 Top 24 are heading to Hawaii!
Later this month, The Top 24 will perform in front of an audience at the Disney Aulani Resort. Spoilers will surely spill. Watch this website for all the details. But again, spoiler discussion belongs under spoilers posts. Thank you.
I’ve compiled these tidbits and teasers into a fun list of contestants to keep an eye on. This is based on possible storylines, promos, and more.
Here are Season 20’s Promo Stars (Ones to Watch)!
This year’s Jason Warrior and Grace Kinstler:
Last year, 2 top 24 contestants, one who was an eventual finalist (Grace) were heavily featured in every promo that came out. So far, Idol has mirrored that by putting Tyler N. Allen and Tristen Gressett in every promo. One seems to have an emotional story (Tyler) and the other (Tristen) is polarizing with a retro style that we don’t see every year. Maybe one of them will book a trip all the way to the finale like Grace.
TYLER N. ALLEN: VIRAL GOSPEL PREACHER
Tyler has Judge Katy Perry in tears in the promos with Luke Bryan acknowledging that “Katy is an absolute wreck.” The 24-year-old from Mobile, Alabama talks about his nephew who passed away recently and auditions with a song that he would sing to him to rock him to sleep. This audition is the most anticipated of the season and is sure to be an emotional one.
Tyler is an ordained elder in his church and according to his website, he has sung all around the world including Cuba and New York. He has had a few viral videos and has stage presence and energy like no other. I’m excited to see him bring both his tender side like this Whitney cover and his entertaining “bring the house down” side that can be seen in many church performances like this viral one from Facebook. He’s one to watch. Based on the videos I have seen; he is the most poised performer of the season. He also has quite the following with 19.6K followers on Instagram and 461.1K followers on Tik Tok.
Viral FB video: Facebook Watch
Whitney Houston “I Look To You” Cover
TRISTEN GRESSETT: RETRO ROCKER
Tristen is also destined to go far, appearing in every promo. The singer sports a harmonica and a cowboy hat in his audition. An old soul from Pell City, Alabama; he is a 17-year-old high schooler during the day who is a rockstar by night. His style doesn’t seem current, but there’s been a few retro successes in the ABC era Idol like Laine Hardy who performed a lot of classics, as well as singers like Arthur Gunn, Dillon James, and R&B/Gospel singer, Deshawn Goncalves. Most of them also took on some contemporary hits, so it’ll be interesting to how Tristen approaches song choice on the show. If fans want a throwback artist, Tristen is going to bring that throwback style to the Idol stage in Season 20.
“Hard to Handle” Cover
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The Platinum Ticket Holders
American Idol announced a new twist for the Hollywood Round. In each of three audition cities–Austin, Los Angeles and Nashville, judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan awarded ONE “Platinum Ticket” to a contestant per city. The special pass gave the singer perks during Hollywood Week. So far, the promos reveal TWO of the platinum pass holders.
JAY COPELAND: NATURAL FLOWING R&B SINGER
Jeremiah “Jay” Copeland, a graduate of Salisbury University (Maryland) who studied Music and Theater, is the only person we’ve seen sing in a promo. Jay is more talented than what is seen in the little promo clip of him singing. And that clip earned him a platinum ticket, so which speaks to his talent.
However, it is a solid vocal, and seeing clips online, Jay may just be the most talented R&B vocalist this season. It’s unfair to judge on such a small clip, so I’d rather judge him by what we hear in the competition and the excellent clips found online. He’s such a natural talent, with raw talent flowing. He’s also a gifted dancer.
Jay wins his category at National Association of Teachers of Singing National Student: Watch HERE.
Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk” cover
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KENEDI ANDERSON: SINGER WITH INSANE RANGE
Kenedi is a senior in high school from Virginia. She’s not the same style, but her raw talent is comparable to none other than last year’s fan-favorite rocker Casey Bishop. Casey had incredible range with a voice that can sing any genre. Kenedi appears to be in a similar league vocally with a MASSIVE range. She can hit whistle notes and has the ability to do some pretty insane riffs and runs. Her style seems to be R&B infused pop. She also was on the shortlist of The Voice Season 18 auditioners, but her Blind Audition never aired.
Check out her immense talent in this cover of Sam Smith’s “Like I Can”
Others Talented Artists to Note (all spotted in at least 2 promos)
SCARLET AYLIZ: FIERCE RETURNEE WE NEVER MET
Scarlet made her way into 2 promos, and she’s got an interesting story to tell. Ayliz, 18, from Massachusetts, initially got a golden ticket last season, but she didn’t go to Hollywood as her grades weren’t up to par (Watch her explain HERE. She also has had a tough childhood. She talks about the loss of her father and the difficulty of growing up in a small-town with a blended family. Read HERE.
Scarlet is intriguing. First, her colorful bucket hat and style makes her stand out before even singing a note, and like Kenedi, she has huge range. If she chooses to, she could pull off just going by the single name of “Scarlet” as a stage name. Scarlet has a retro side to herself. In many of her gigs, she puts soulful spins on rock songs. Listen to her cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” which showcases her soulful spin on old songs and her vocal chops. She was just 15 at the time. She’s got confidence for days both vocally and with stage presence, and that will take her far in the competition.
LEAH MARLENE: QUIRKY INDIE SINGER
Leah is quirky. And quirky has been big on ABC Idol. She’s like season 16’s Catie Turner with a slightly more alternative rock and soul edge. She also writes songs like Catie and has a producer side to her. She can be spotted in promos with a golden ticket, and in every promo, she looks incredibly excited. Marlene, a 20-year-old from Normal, Illinois, is one of the most artistic singers this season. Hopefully we get some great originals like the past seasons have brought us.
Leah Marlene is destined to be one of the singers to perform some original material. On her website bio, it states, “after spending two years in Nashville at Belmont University studying songwriting, she has returned back to the Midwest to work on her next album.” Does this imply that Leah has left Belmont? I don’t know, but if she has, maybe Idol will be her big break.
New single “Noise” is out NOW
VERSATILE CADENCE BAKER COMES FROM A TALENTED FAMILY
Nineteen year old Cadence Baker from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, brought her father Shane to her audition. Her name has a story behind it. Her dad used to be the lead singer of a Christian rock band called “Cadence.” He has also been signed as a recording artist and songwriter for other Christian publishing companies in both Nashville and Alabama.
One promo, she’s spotted singing alongside him and in another she’s celebrating her golden ticket. Cadence, a talented singer-songwriter, is reminiscent of last year’s Laila Mach as her voice is extremely emotive and current. And she’s a solid songwriter. She describes herself as a soul and R&B singer in her Instagram bio, but she has the chops to take on both pop and country as well.
Original song “Hell to Earth”
AMERICAN IDOL PROMOS
ABC American Idol Sizzle Reel – Sam Barber (Plaid shirt guy), Mark Ian Osborne (Mustache and glasses), Cameron Whitcomb (High fiving Seacrest), Danielle Clavell (Girl in green top, Lionel dancing), Hazi (guy crying), ?, Tyler N. Allen emotional dedication to nephew, Mike Parker, Dan Marshall, Rose O’Neal, ?, Scarlet Ayliz (Bucket Hat Piano girl), Joedi Silvers (Cowboy hat), Emily Faith (Blonde guitar girl), Katie O (girl in red), Tristen Gressett (with Golden Ticket), Jay Copeland (Singing Signed, Sealed and Delivered), Cadence Baker (pictured with Dad and golden ticket)
American Idol Promo ft Contestants 1 – Leah Marlene, Tristen Gressett, Tyler N. Allen (singing), Brooks Kidd (at piano), Taylor Davidson, Lexi Weege, Christian Guardino (with chain on) (AGT 2017), Kelsie Dolin (in backwards cap), Luke Taylor. Tyler closes the clip.
American Idol Promo ft Contestants 2 (NEW) – Tristen Gressett (with guitar & harmonica), Mike Parker (grey shirt, singing with Phredley), Hunter Girl (with white guitar), Cole Hallman (with family, on a walk), Tyler N. Allen (emotional story), Brooks Kidd (sitting down), Scarlet Ayliz (bucket hat, piano), Kelsie Dolin (backwards cap), Mike Parker (again), Kenedi Anderson, Cadence Baker (dad playing guitar). Luke Taylor (flannel, golden ticket), Kenedi Anderson (light green shirt, holding a platinum ticket) ?, Mike Parker (celebrating), Scarlet Ayliz (celebrating), Leah Marlene (with golden ticket), Tristen Gressett (with ticket),