American Idol 2024 Premiere Recap: Season 22 Begins!

American Idol 2024 - Odell Bunton Jr.

American Idol 2024 Premiere Recap – We’re Live Blogging the Season 22 kickoff!

American Idol season 22 begins tonight with auditions from the judges hometowns Leesburg, Georgia (Luke), Tuskegee, Alabama (Lionel) and Santa Barbara, California (Katy) plus 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? Or better yet, will a hopeful earn one of THREE Platinum Tickets?

American Idol 2024: Full Season 22 Schedule
American Idol 2024 Premiere: Meet The Contestants (Photos)
American Idol 2024 Spoilers: Top 24 Season 22 Contestant List
American Idol 2024 Contestant Preview

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

Auditions took place in the auditorium of Luke’s High School, a location on the Tuskegee college campus, and more.

Reigning winner Iam Tongi appears with Ryan as he declares “THIS IS AMERICAN IDOL.”

Mackenzie Sol – 23 – Bring it on Home by Sam Cooke

Mackenzie is from the UK and appeared on the X Factor UK as a 4 year old in 2005. Currently, he’s a social media star with a big following. He’s so dedicated to his mother, whom he lives with in Las Vegas, he asked her not to accompany him to the audition, because she would make him nervous.

A very wobbly vibrato that could be tamed, Mackenzie possesses a unique sound that would help him stand out. He’s got that floppy front hair that so many Tik Tok dudes in their 20’s are sporting these days (swear these guys are gonna CRINGE at photos of themselves 10 years from now). At one point, he directs the song to Katy. He’s an affable guy.

Lionel says he’s not even aware of what he’s doing–he means that in a good way. Luke describes the singer’s “stardust personality” and compliments his vocal skills and hutzpah. Katy calls him a character with soul. She thinks he could be in the Top 10. As Makenzie believes he’s “facetiming” his mom, she walks through the door to surprise him, and they both cry. – 3 yeses

Triston Harper – 15 – Cover Me Up by Jason Isbell

ABC previewed this audition earlier. Watch it HERE. The 15 year old singer is from a small town in Alabama. After his mom left his abusive stepfather, they were homeless before moving in with his Paw Paw. Triston is a member of the Choctaw Indian Tribe. The leader of the tribe shares how proud they are of him.

Tiston’s singing is raw and emotional as he accompanies himself on guitar. A real Americana sound comes from this young man. He still a diamond in the rough, but exhibits a ton of potential. The judges are clearly moved.

Lionel calls his voice a “storytelling” voice. Katy calls him authentic and connected, although not perfect. “Old soul,” she describes him. Luke recognizes his flaws, but believes he’ll improve with coaching. He’s impressed. His mom comes in to hear the positive verdict, and that Triston is going to Hollywood. 3 yeses

In a short clip, entertainer, Alto Moon sings and dances and eans a ticket to Hollywood.

Kennedy Reid – 23 – River Deep, Mountain High by Ike and Tina Turner

Kennedy is only 23 years old, but looks older. For a minute I thought she was a joke singer sneaking in past the 28 year old age limit. An elderly lady accompanies her to play piano. Her nails are insanely long, and it turns out that she’s a mortician at a funeral home in New Albany, Indiana. She “provides closure to grieving families.” She studied to be a cosmetologist. Now, she embalms and dresses the deceased.

She’s an OK singer, but very old fashioned. Katy yells “WAKE US UP” and delivers more instructions as she sings and belts the classic song.

Luke sings a John Connelly song the old lady plays on the piano (she and Kennedy met at his concert). Oh the hijinks begin as Luke lays himself out on the judges table like a dead person. Kennedy sings along.

Luke believes she has all the tools, but is pageanty. Lionel didn’t like the song choice. Katy compliments her voice but thinks she’s “scared to death.” Katy isn’t sure she’s ready. Lionel says yes, Luke says no, Katy says yes. – 2 yeses, one no.

Luke takes the judges fishing in Leesburg. Katy is not impressed. Luke mentions that season 11 winner, Phillip Phillips is also from Leesburg. He is!

Meggie Iyer – 18 – I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt

She grew up watching American Idol, she gushes to Ryan before her audition. The singer, from Mt. Carmel Indiana, displays a melodious tone. I wasn’t expecting such a mature sound from the giggling teenager who walked into the room. Her tone is so pretty. Her phrasing is interesting, but she could bring more emotion to her performance.

Katy is so excited, she spills her drink. “You got the whole package,” says Lionel. “Your vocal choices are amazing.” Katy calls her “Top 10” which is the second time tonight she declares a hopeful will make it far into the competition. – 3 yeses

After the break, Sariah, sings “Over The Rainbow” in an over exaggerated theatrical voice. She also performs in a fur coat which I hope is NOT real. Lionel and Luke say no, but Katy can’t bring herself to deny the over-the-top singer. Still, two nos mean no ticket to Hollywood – 2 nos 1 yes.

Ajii – 27 – Lose Control by Teddy Swims

ABC previewed this audition earlier. Watch it HERE. Ajii works at a Brooklyn nursing home. A coworker urged him to audition for Idol. Luke added that he had the same experience with a college pal. His family are Pakistani immigrants.

Ajii sings with a raspy soulful growl. He feels what he’s singing. He’s the type of vocalist who can hold the room with an acoustic song. he’s a compelling performer. Before Idol, Ajii was singing in the hallways of the nursing home where he works.

Katy calls him a “G”. The “G” of today, and a diamond in the rough. Lionel says “You had me on your opening note. Everything you do is so real, so fresh. It’s so infectious.” Luke says, “You sing like it’s all on the line. You let it come from your soul and fly out.” For the third time, Katy calls a contestant “Top 10.” There are only 7 spots left, Katy. Interestingly, the audition clip below is cut differently than what’s on the episode. 3 yeses

The gang goes to visit the Tuskegee house where Lionel was raised. He takes them on a tour. He’s preserving his childhood home like a museum. Lionel started the Commodores at the local college. His grandma was a classical pianist who tried to teach him how to read music.

Blake Proehl – 24 – In Case You Didn’t Know by Brett Young

Blake attends the audition in Nashville with his mother and grandmother. He’s a singer who used to play in the NFL. His dad played pro football for 17 years. But Blake played for only 3 years with the Minnesota Vikings, because a tough injury ended his career early. He cries sharing about it. While recovering he practiced music, while his grandmother encouraged him. A video in which he pranked his grandmother went viral on social media, which kicked off a new type of fame. “Nana” joins him in the audition room.

He sings at the piano, while Nana stands by and watches–recreating the viral moment. Katy is kind of freaking out during his performance. He has a light sweet tenor. He’s very ernest and romantic. The girlies will go wild. Katy may be in love. She jokingly asks for his autograph.

Katy declares him “Top 10.” FOURTH TIME SIX SPOTS LEFT KATY AND IT’S ONLY THE PREMIERE. Luke calls him innocent and vulnerable and believes he’ll turn the girls into “melted butter.” Lionel calls him a natural. “He could win it!” Katy declares. 3 yeses

Katy introduces the judges to her older sister, Angela Hudson. Katy and the rest visit the spot in Santa Barbara where she used to busk. She brings along her first guitar and plays for the crowd.

Micaela McCall – 28 – Signed Sealed Delivered by Stevie Wonder

Micela ALSO busked in Santa Barbara. A clip of her singing “I Dreamed a Dream” on the corner went viral. While her friend Keith plays piano, Micela croons a ballady rendition of the Stevie Wonder classic. It’ STEVIE HIT BROADWAY. The version is probably not everyone’s cuppa. But she does sing with a beautiful, full tone. She’s interesting.

Katy is so proud of her town. “I’ve never heard that song done that way.” Luke says, “You just sing. It’s so free.” He wonders why she isn’t successful already. Lionel replies, “The universe was saving her for us.” 3 yeses

Odell Bunton Jr. – 28 – Bring it on Home to Me by Sam Cooke – Platinum Ticket Winner!

Currently, Odell lives in Dallas. He’s got a bunch of kids! He misses them. He works as a security guard at the Dallas airport. He started singing in church at 6 years old. At 13 he began working on music as a career. But after his oldest daughter was born, he took a break. Providing for 5 kids has been a struggle. They all live in a hotel now.

It’s obvious he’s been singing for a long time. He has a polished and soulful sound. It’s too bad he needed to detour from his musical dreams. He’ll age out of Idol after this year. But he’d be a great fit on The Voice. He knows how to build a powerful performance.

Lionel was not expecting Odell to be so good. “You have potential,” he remarks. “That was real tight old school.” Katy calls him the best soul singer this season. He gave Luke chills. He notes Jelly Roll (who will serve as a mentor in Hawaii!) began winning awards at 39. 3 yeses Odell bursts into tears as he hugs his wife.

Later, as Odell is interviewed by his local station, the judges announce they’ve given him one of THREE platinum tickets.

Jack Blocker – 25 – I Was Wrong (Original)

Jack, from Nashville, is the first and only singer tonight to perform an original song. It’s a solid offering. But singing an unfamiliar original is always a big risk. He brings dynamics to his folkie performance. He lets the song take over–he’s an animated singer.

Katy likes his voice, but thinks he has developed bad habits. Lionel calls him an artist. Luke wonders what Paul Simon’s audition would have looked like? He likes it. Luke says yes. Katy says no. And then Lionel says no. Luke can’t believe it. Jack walks out of the room. He takes the rejection in stride.

“I saw something in that boy,” says Luke, not giving up. “Can we get him back!” He calls a crew vote. “REALLY” Lionel responds. The crew votes yes. Giving the crew a vote is a first on American Idol. “We’ve never done it before!” Jack is now a yes. Everybody is mad at the judges! Ryan enters the room with his hand raised too. Lionel changes his vote. 2 yeses, 1 no, The crew votes YES. “The crew, my new best friends!” says Jack. I mean–I would have voted yes too.

McKenna Breinholt – 25 – There was Jesus by Zach Bryan and Dolly Parton

ABC previewed this audition previously. Watch it HERE. McKenna explains to the judges that she’s adopted. She recently found her birth family and learned that they are all musical (her adoptive family isn’t). Before her birth mother, a musician, passed away, she recorded a few albums.

McKenna accompanies herself on piano singing with a beautiful raspy voice. While she performs, McKenna has a natural talent. Her style is subtle yet affecting. Ryan reveals that members of her birth family are there to surprise her.

Luke compliments her control. Lionel loves her ability to tell a story. Her mother’s band was called Nowhere Band and Whiskey Girl, she tells Katy. When McKenna goes outside to collect her family, she discovers her birth family is also waiting. She’s meeting them for the first time. Both her birth and adoptive family are in the room. Katy is in tears.

McKenna sits down at the piano to sing one of her birth mother’s songs, “Tumbleweed.” TEARS ALL AROUND. “It’s like a ghost,” a birth relative remarks. The clip ends with a video of McKenna’s birth mother, Amy Ross Lopez performing on stage. She was born in 1973 and died in 2013. She passed away many years after McKenna was adopted. There is a longer story there… 3 yeses

About mj santilli 34860 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!