American Idol 2022 Recap: Season 20 Auditions 3 (Video)


American Idol 2022 Recap – Season 20 Auditions 3

The landmark American Idol season 20 continues tonight with week 3 auditions from Austin, Los Angeles and Nashville. Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan along with host Ryan Seacrest will introduce a new crop young hopefuls. Who will snag that golden ticket to Hollywood?

In a new twist, one contestant from each city will be awarded the supercharged Platinum Ticket, which allows the artist to sit out the first round of Hollywood Week. 

American Idol 2022: Full Season 20 Schedule

American Idol 2022 Auditions 3: Meet The Contestants (Photos)
Spoilers: Top 24 Season 20 Contestant List
What Did Top 24 Sing in Hawaii? (Spoilers)
Showcase Contestant List and Song Choices (Spoilers)

Reminder: Comments on this post are a SPOILER FREE ZONE. Do not spoil outcomes. Keep spoiler discussion confined to specific spoiler posts.

The show kicks off with the judges and Ryan dancing with a marching band and a bunch of cheerleaders to “Beggin’.”

Tristen Gressett – 17 – Pell City AL

Piano Man by Billy Joel/ Colors by Black Pumas – It’s been Tristen and his mom for a long time. “She’s the hardest working person I know,” Tristen gushes. She manages him. He’s full of energy! Lionel Richie is his hero. He’s about to burst into tears. The singer performs Piano Man as if Dylan was covering it, playing a mouth harp as he strums a guitar. He’s a good singer–strong, even in his upper register. His performing is also full of energy. He’s so animated, he could pull it back a little. He’s trying a wee bit too hard.

“What comet did you ride in on?” Luke asks. He declares that he wants to bring back a thing that should have never left. Soul. The judges all note that he’s overdoing it. “We’re trying to take you from a gimmick to an artist,” says Lionel. He asks for another song. Luke warns him not to play the guitar too loud. He tries to take their advice. The performance of “Colors” by Black Pumas is more nuanced. He’s got the raw materials. He just needs to trust in himself. Obviously, he’s nervous and overcompensating. The judges interrupt him and it makes him MORE nervous. Lionel says he has substance and could be a “master artist.” Katy and Luke say “Make it about the music first.” Despite reservations, the judges say yes, and Tristen cries. – 3 yeses

Cadence Baker – 19 – Muscle Shoals AL

I’m Your Baby Tonight by Whitney Houston – Idol dropped Cadence’s audition on Saturday. Her dad Shane, who is also a musician, came to the audition to back her up on guitar. Cadence’s musical roots go even deeper. Her grandfather is a songwriter, notably he co-penned “I Swear” by “All-4-One.” She hopes the judges will see her as more than a member of a family legacy. She sings a soulful, jazzy version of “I’m Your Baby Tonight. Her phrasing is spot on. It helps that her dad’s backing is expert. She also has an impressive range. 

The judges give her a standing ovation. Lionel gushes over dad’s guitar playing. “I’m going to cry now,” he says, “I just won American Idol. Lionel adds, “Your daughter stepped right into the pocket.” Katy calls it “amazing” and says she thinks she’s “got a lot of stuff.” Luke wrote “potentially top 10” on a piece of paper. We need a tally of how many contestants Luke predicts will make the Top 10. Probably too many. Having said that, Cadence is worthy. “She’s maybe the winner,” Luke adds. – 3 yeses

Dontrell Briggs – 26 – Maxton NC

For Your Glory by Tasha Cobbs/Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton – This audition was also previewed early. Dontrell lost his beloved godmother just a few months before the audition. He relied on her for support. He shared that she struggled with a lung disease, and finally succumbed. Dontrell sings the gospel classic with a cry in his voice and an appealing rasp. His singing is sincere and emotional. 

Lionel is clearly moved. “Some people let God come through them.” He’s sure that his godmother was standing right next to him. Luke thinks his vibrato is too staggard and could become redundant to the listener. Katy agrees with Luke. Lionel is a solid yes. Katy says no. Luke can’t make up his mind. The critique about his vibrato shouldn’t keep him from going to Hollywood. Dontrell offers another song, Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.” Half way through the chorus Luke declares, YES YOU’RE GOING TO HOLLYWOOD.  – 2 yeses 1 no

Time for a few joke contestants! D3vine – Its a very old school Idol bad audition. He’s off key and over the top. Hopefully he doesn’t believe he can sing. Ry warbles Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did it Again.” Last year he almost made it to the judges round. Rachel Chiu – She’s popular on Tik Tok and can actually sing, but the mouth horn thing she does turns her into a gimmick. Katy says yes, but Lionel and Luke say no. It’s across the board nos for D3vine and Ry. 

Abigail Brooks – 21 – Castle Rock CO

Vincent by Don McLean – With the contestant in front of them, Katy bangs on about her fiance Orlando being in People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue. I wish the judges didn’t distract like that. Anyway, Abigail is popular on TIk Tok for using her broom as a microphone. She looks wacky, with the bucket hat, but she graduated from from the Institute for American Musical Theater in 2021. Now, she’s working at a coffee shop in Tribeca, which is how the broom thing started. She explains how she grew up surrounded by older music. She loves Barbra Streisand. The judges just HAPPEN to have a broom! She has a lovely voice, but it’s hard to imagine her outside of musical theater. Singing a serious ballad while singing into a broom looks silly. 

“I predict she wins Disney Night,” says Luke. Another backhanded compliment from him. He wonders if its right for Idol. Lionel drops that he knows Babs. He finds Abigail unique. They let her keep the broom! She hopes she and Babs can have a broom duet some day. Don’t hold your breath for that. – 3 yeses

Dakota Hayden – 17 – Fordsville KY

When it Rains it Pours by Luke Combs – Yee Haw. Dakota is a hayseed from Kentucky. He grew up on a 36 acre farm where he hunts, fishes, drives tractors, etc. etc. He’s very excited to meet Luke Bryan, a country artist he grew up with. Tune your guitar! Katy shouts. Nevertheless, he has a pleasant, resonate tone. He lays on the cry a little too much. Luke wants him to dig in a little more. He does sound facile, like he’s imitating Combs. Lionel calls him “believable as heck.” He reminds him of his fellow judge. Katy calls him raw and young and Top 10 material. “You are exactly what we want to find,” says Luke – 3 yeses

Taniya Boatwright – 17 – Myrtle Beach SC

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke – She’s dreamed of being a singer her entire life. In school, she got bullied because of her weight. Last season’s Willie Spence inspired her to audition. He Zooms in to wish her good luck “Walk into that room with your held held high,” he says. She has a beautiful tone. Katy motions to her, like she wants more. She is tentative and needs to work on her phrasing. It’s plodding. But she’s got all the ingredients to be a great singer. “MORE!” shouts Katy. 

Luke calls the performance solid and youthful. But more contained and subtle than he expected. Katy knows there is more there. She’s on the fence. Lionel thinks she has potential. He suggests she work on her delivery and audition later. The judges are correct. She has talent, but it needs more work. Lionel gives her a yes for support. She’s crushed though, crying. – 2 nos 1 yes. 

The next two contestants, Donavan and Emily have a thing in common. They both work at funeral homes! 

Donavan Diaz – 20 – Hereford TX

He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones – He’s a funeral director and an embalmer. Katy wants to know how many dead people he’s seen. The joking is close to being disrespectful. His voice is very weird…I didn’t expect him to sound like that. It’s Tennessee Ernie Ford like, but really stilted. 

The judges joke that the golden and platinum tickets are falling off the wall. Ghosts are here, they say. I can’t believe they’re making light of his job. There is a news article where Donavan talks about the devastating effect Covid had on their business. It was non-stop death for awhile. The subject isn’t funny. The judges make death puns as they each say no. Yuck. – 3 nos

Emily Faith – 18 – Kingfisher OK

Good Hearted Woman by Waylon Jennings – Her family owns a funeral home. She helps her dad out with cosmetology. In other words, she does hair and make-up for viewings. She has a pretty, but generic voice. Impressive how she nailed the key change, though. The judges seem impressed. Emily has been playing gigs for a long time. 

Lionel says she has an “FM Voice.” Luke thinks she’s authentic. Katy agrees with Luke, but wants to pull more out of her. – 3 yeses

Mark Osborne – 26 – Bedford Country VA

Stone by Whiskey Myers – He chats with mama via Zoom–she asked him to audition for her birthday. She sings too. He started a band and they gigged for awhile. But after they broke up, he drifted and felt lost. His parents encouraged him not to give up on a music career. 

He sings with a twangy, gravelly voice. It’s very Chayce Beckham like. His delivery is raw and believable. After he finishes he says, “You know this is nerve wracking!” Katy calls him authentic. Lionel admires his facial hair, which is similar to his. “The moustache brings the cash!” he quips. Luke promises, if Mark goes to Hollywood, he’ll push him to dig deeper. – 3 yeses. 

Ryleigh Madison – 16 – Whiteville NC

The Good Ones by Gabby Barrett – The judges talk about Gabby Barrett and how she’s their American Idol SUPERSTAR. Luke jokes that she got nominated for 4 more ACMs than he did. Ouch! Ryleigh loves Gabby and hopes to follow in her footsteps. She’s a sophomore in high school and “gigs around a little.” She covers Gabby. It’s like a full circle moment for the panel. Ryleigh has been singing for a long time, and it shows. She kind of sounds like Gabby. 

“You’ve got a great voice,” says Katy. She likes that she keeps her accent when she sings. But don’t miss words, she says. The tempo was a little quick for Luke. “Your nerves took over for a minute,” says Lionel. – 3 yeses

Sam Finelli – 28 – Peachtree Corners GA

Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves –  At an early age, he was diagnosed with autism. He felt like an outcast his whole life. “I don’t connect with people very well.” But music was his best friend. He’s afraid he’s not good enough, but he’s about to age out of Idol.  He confesses that he’s only performed at karaoke. But for somebody who hasn’t performed in front of people, he’s pretty good. He’s got a few pitch problems, but his rendition is very sweet. Katy is crying. Sam cries when the judges give him a standing ovation.

Lionel says they are proud of him. “You were born enough. Your handicap is your gift.” Katy thinks he picked the perfect song. “You’re 28 and the moment is now. Let go off all that fear and negativity.” Luke says “It felt like an experience.” His mother comes in to hear his judgement. And it’s 3 yeses. Luke is crying. Sam’s American Idol dream has come true. – 3 yeses


About mj santilli 34980 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!