American Idol leaked an audition ahead of Sunday’s (Feb 27) premiere. It’s the first full audition of the new season, and it features Cole Hallman, a 22 year old singer from Manasquan, NJ. The singer recently graduated from college and taught 4th grade.
Cole comes to his American Idol audition with his mom and his sister Katie, his biggest fan. Katie was born with a chromosomal deletion which caused developmental and behavioral issues. Cole shares that she’s obsessed with the show.
“She’s definitely my number one fan,” Cole says of Katie. “But she’s also my number one critic.” He mentions that he and his sister sing together. And actually, Cole uploads videos of their duets to Tik Tok, which have become quite popular. His account has almost 354K followers and over 8 million likes. He’s already uploaded a video reacting to today’s leak. It seems he didn’t know it was coming.
Cole confesses that he hasn’t been doing music that long (5 years) and compared to the other contestants, he doesn’t feel prepared. Indeed, he’s nervous singing in front of the judges, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. He performs “Lodi” by Creedence Clearwater Revival while accompanying himself on guitar.
The judges praise Cole’s “imperfect” performance
Cole’s voice cracks a little at the end, but nevertheless, Luke calls him an “authentic voice” and feels that he’s “singing from the right place.” Katy asks him if he thinks he hit a bad note at the end. “Yes,” he answers. “No you didn’t!” she retorts. “It’s called character,” she insists.
“If you played a whole song with an out of tune guitar, and Katy Perry doesn’t throw a penalty flag at you, that means we’re all in to what you’re doing,” says Luke. That’s some backhanded criticisms, right there. “You can just hear your heart,” says Katy. “It’s so raw and passionate.” Lionel feels there may be a place for Cole in the competition.
“We’re going to do a judgement” says Katy. Apparently, that’s a new catch phrase this season? They invite Cole’s mom and sister in to the audition room, where Katie and Cole sing the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” The panel gives them a standing ovation. “You sang with total freedom,” Katy notes. “Twenty percent better,” says Luke.
In the end, Cole received three yeses and a golden ticket to Hollywood. Watch the audition below.