American Idol 2024 1st Look: McKenna Breinholt Emotional Surprise

American Idol 2024 First Look: McKenna Breinholt meets her birth family

American Idol 2024 promo McKenna Breinholt

ABC/Disney dropped a bunch of new trailers for the network’s mid-season shows, including for American Idol. The new clip offers the first look at a season 22 audition, and it’s a tearjerker.

Twenty-five year-old McKenna Breinholt from Gilbert, Arizona auditions for the judges with an emotional family story. She’s adopted, and only recently came into contact with her birth family. At 21 years old, McKenna learned that her birth mother, a musician, had passed away. Nobody in her adoptive family is musical, so this piece of information was impactful.

Over the summer, the singer came into contact with her birth family and learned that they ALL sing. She’d facetimed with her newly found family but had not met them yet. McKenna planned to meet them in three weeks. But y’all can guess what’s really up. While she sings “There Was Jesus” by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton at the piano, the camera cuts to host Ryan Seacrest in the hallway with both the singer’s adoptive and birth family. Surprise!

American Idol 2024 Spoilers Showstopper Contestant and Song List

After McKenna finishes her audition, judge Katy Perry says, “You’ve got a great voice, really signature and raspy and interesting.” Luke Bryan says, “You’re very in control of what you’re doing…very in control of being at the piano, and you’re in control of singing. You’ve got that figured out. I thought it was great.” Lionel Richie adds, “I love exactly what you did. I love the sound of your voice, and I’m just anxious to see what you’re going to do with this.”

“My birth family is here!”

American Idol 2024 promo McKenna Breinholt

Katy then suggests McKenna invite her family in for the “final judgement.” When McKenna opens the door and unexpectedly sees her birth family, she bursts into tears. There’s hugging and crying. And the judges are left to figure out what the heck is going on (as if they aren’t in on it!) “They’re here!” McKenna explains, “My birth family is here!” The clip ends with Katy breaking out the tissues. You’ll have to wait until the premiere to find out if she gets a golden ticket to Hollywood. But it’s probably safe to assume that the singer sails through.

The theme of the new season is “hometowns” as five audition cities include Los Angeles, Nashville and each of the judges’ hometowns: Leesburg, Georgia for Luke, Santa Barbara, California for Katy and Tuskegee, Alabama for Lionel. The key art and promo revolves around a Wizard of Oz theme, with Katy as Dorothy, etc.

American Idol 2024 premieres on ABC, Sunday February 18 at 8 pm ET/PT.

Watch McKenna Breinholt’s emotional audition below.

About mj santilli 34829 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!