The auditions for the 2018 American Idol revival are complete and the show now enters into Hollywood Week. All of the gold ticket winners from the auditions will compete in order to move forward in the competition. Hollywood Week will last for two episodes – one tonight and the other on Easter Sunday. The showcase and final judgment on the contestants, prior to the top 24 decision, will air on Monday, April 2, 2018. Then, the top 24 solos will be featured on Sunday, April 8, 2018.
The official ABC synopsis for part 1 of Hollywood Week reads, “American Idol heads to the heart of Los Angeles for Hollywood Week, as the search for America’s next superstar continues on its new home on America’s network, The ABC Television Network. In this first episode of Hollywood Week, Idol hopefuls from across the country head to the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood to battle it out in solo and group performances, singing their hearts out in hopes of making it through to the showcase round.” Get to know some of the contestants participating in tonight’s episode of Hollywood Week below.
William Casanova performed “A Song For You” by Donny Hathaway for his audition on American Idol. Casanova is determined to make his family proud with becoming a success in music. In recent years, Casanova moved away from home, to Los Angeles, and he calls it “the biggest decision of my life, to leave a home I’ve been in my ENTIRE life.” On Twitter, Casanova wrote on his profile that, “In life, I’ve been told NO so many times. But that 1 YES, can change your life forever. Follow your dreams, believe in yourself, & put your faith in God. Never give up. KEEP GOING …”
Casanova is not his given name, but he says that if you can live up to it, then it’s a good name. When Casanova isn’t singing or appearing on American Idol, he actually works in women’s shoes. He also says that his mother is his “favorite girl”.
When McBane auditioned for Idol, he performed the song “Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band. McBane hails from Oklahoma and he said that his 81-year-old “nan” is his biggest fan. He called his grandma his best friend, which was so sweet. He went on to describe his home, saying that on his goat farm, he named his cow’s baby “Simon COWell.” Lionel Richie told McBane that he loves the growl in his voice, while judge Luke Bryan called him “as raw as we’ve seen.” Both judges felt that his audition wasn’t perfect, but it was filled with “real notes”.
Katy Perry said that McBane looked like a cool musician and called him “pretty interesting”. McBane then revealed that he does also write his own music. In an interview with McAlister News, McBane told the newspaper that he first started taking singing seriously when he was a junior in high school. His first performance in public was at the First Baptist Church of Savanna, Oklahoma. McBane went on to become a part of a band called Consider the Raven.
Layla Spring performed The Jackson 5’s “Who’s Loving You” for her audition and her performance was extra adorable, because she brought her little sister to sing in front of the judges as well. Spring turned 16 years old on Friday the 13th, while her little sidekick, Dixie, is just 7 years old. Judge Lionel Richie called her “cute as a button” and the judges were smitten with the sisterly duo. Dixie and Layla Spring gushed over the judges and impressed with their vocals, straight out of Kentucky. After singing for the judges, both girls received golden tickets, but Dixie isn’t allowed to use her until she meets the age requirement for the show. Katy Perry joked that Dixie’s golden ticket is valid in 2026, when all of her teeth grow in.
Spring said that she sings a lot for her family and she gushed over judge Lionel Richie’s wisdom. In addition to Spring having a great voice, the judges felt that she would gain a lot of experience that would benefit her, by going to Hollywood for the show. Richie also warned Spring about the mental game that goes along with the competition, saying that she is “going into the fire”.
Caleb Lee Hutchinson
Caleb Lee Hutchinson is a country singer, who’s been playing music all his life, but he doesn’t come from a very musical family. Hutchinson does a funny impression of one of his idols, judge Luke Bryan, which tickles the judges during his audition on the show. The song he chose to perform for the big audition was “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” by The SteelDrivers. Hutchinson is just 19 years old and judge Richie said that his voice is beyond his age. Hutchinson was 18 at the time of his audition, according to ABC. Katy Perry loved Hutchinson’s fast vibrato in his voice and enjoyed the comfort Hutchinson appears to have in his performing.
According to AJC.com, his grandmother bought a karaoke machine when he was about five years old and his love of music exploded. Growing up, he enjoyed Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Years ago, Hutchinson actually had a musical connection to an American Idol winner, after he opened for season 4 runner-up Bo Bice in 2012.
Gabby Barrett’s audition was a little rough with the judges, but they ultimately decided that she had earned a spot in Hollywood. Barrett started singing when she was just 9 years old and said that she was a daddy’s girl. Her father accompanied her to her audition and ended up getting pranked by the judges. Carrie Underwood is Barrett’s other idol in life, but it’s her singing church music that wins over the judges.
Barrett said that her dad is a maintenance man for goodwill and that at night, he cleans appointments. She said that he is her rock and that he wants to give her everything he possibly can in life. Barrett becomes emotional when talking about her father, who calls her his “whole life”. She said that her father has sacrificed so much for her and she wants to create a successful future for her family. Barrett is 17 years old and hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Hardy gave a rendition of Band of Heathens’ song “Hurricane” for his audition on the show. For fun, other than singing, Hardy rides his truck around town, just burning gas, which made the judge smile. Luke Bryan then asked Hardy if he’d ever “caught an alligator on a topwater plug.” This is apparently a good lure to use and shows off Bryan’s country roots.
Judge Luke Bryan told Hardy that if he’s not careful, he might win American Idol. The judges didn’t even bring their decisions to a vote. He judge went straight to Hollywood. And, Katy Perry thought Hardy was super cute.
Catie Turner is a little off-color, but that’s what makes her special. She was actually the first contestant, who America saw on the reboot and she impressed the judges with an original song, titled “21st Century Machine.” Turner said that her song was about how the media affected her as a child and her bitterness towards it. Out the gate, Katy Perry gushed that she loved Turner, before a hyper Turner even performed. Once Turner sang, Perry couldn’t get over what a good song “21st Century Machine” was. Lionel Richie compared Turner to a martian and said that her writing was “crazy great”. Judge Luke Bryan agreed.
All three judges fell in love with Turner’s “brilliance” and all granted her a “yes”. Perry said Turner is “fresh and necessary”. Upon hearing the news that she was going to Hollywood, Turner burst into tears. Recently, Turner got with the social media program for her Idol experience and wrote on Twitter, “My name’s Catie and I’m here to be America’s next best friend or potentially idol or both whatever its up to you – tune in to watch my journey!”
Zach D’Onofrio is a delightfully geeky crooner, who slow-danced with Katy Perry as he serenaded her and performed for the judges. D’Onofrio, who has a sock obsession, wore his lucky socks for his audition and he had a pair for each of the judges. Lionel Richie got a pair with skulls on it, Katy Perry got socks that had cats with lasers coming out of their eyes, and Luke Bryan’s pair had roosters on it, in tribute to his country background.
D’Onofrio said that singing is a brand, new experience for him and that he’s only been singing for about a year. For his audition, the 16-year-old performed Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight”. The judges couldn’t resist smiling and dancing. Even Bryan and Lionel coupled up for a little slow dance. Richie also couldn’t help but to chime in on the performance with some vocals. D’Onofrio really threw off the judges because his speaking voice is a great deal higher than his singing voice. Bryan said that “America is going to freak” over D’Onofrio and when the young singer left the room, Bryan said that, “This show will teach you do not judge any human being on this planet.”
For her audition on the show, McQueen delivered a performance of Stevie Wonder song, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing.” What’s really special about McQueen is that she was born on June 11, 2002. This was the day that the American Idol series first premiered and it is actually the cut-off date for singers eligible to audition for this season. McQueen just made the cut. McQueen is the youngest person in the competition and she is 15 years old. According to the Northside Neighbor, McQueen is very active in the arts and musicals at her school.
She said that she has always wanted to audition for the show and McQueen described auditioning as being in a dream. Ryan Seacrest accompanied McQueen into her audition, to let the judges know about her birth date. The judges gushed that McQueen’s voice was perfect and that she lights up a room. McQueen ended her audition, singing the line, “Hello”, to legend Lionel Richie.
Daniel Kim Ethridge
Daniel Kim Ethridge comes from a military family, as his dad was in the navy for 20 years. Being Asian, Ethridge said that some find it hard to believe he’s a country singer. His little sister is very supportive of him and he hopes to do the best he can, for his family. His song choice for his audition on the show was “Fire Away” by Chris Stapleton.
Following his performance of “Fire Away”, he sang an original song that he wrote for his sister, who was getting picked on in school for bragging about her big brother’s musical talents. The judges became swept up in his song and Lionel Richie said that he loved the storytelling in his song. Each judge enjoyed his voice, along with his songwriting abilities. Following the audition, Ethridge gave judge Luke Bryan a big hug and he called his family, who gushed over his golden ticket win.
Cameron Theodos is a high school basketball coach and singer, who hopes to become the next American Idol. He auditioned in New Orleans, Louisiana before the judges and he had his girl by his side for the big day. At 25 years old, Theodos impressed the judges with his singing, as well as his guitar-playing. Bryan said that Theodos really showed his soul in his performance, especially performing an original song.
Lionel Richie said that Theodos definitely needs to grow and evolve, but that he’s more than good enough to make it through the first round. Upon hearing the good news, Theodos’ huge brood, filled with family and friends, rushed into the room to rejoice.
Noah Davis made quite the impression when he performed a rendition of Rihanna’s song “Stay” for his Idol audition. Davis and judge Katy Perry share a certain language, using the word “wig” in their excitement. According to Urban Dictionary, the slang term wig’s definition states that it is, “a term used to describe when someone does something (In their opinion) that is so good that they go bald.” Ricky Dillon is also quoted as explaining the definition as this: “Its basically like you’re shook. Like something exciting or crazy just happened that made you so shocked that your wig flew off so in short: wig! but if you wanna spice things up you can add an action after that’s a synonym for flew or gone. For example: Wig incinerated.” The Idol judges were so touched by Davis’ audition that they all got out of their chairs to hug him. Judge Lionel Richie called Davis “perfect”.
Davis hails from Arkansas and he is just 18 years old. He grew up on a small farm, but feels that he is more of a city person. He said that if he wins American Idol, the first thing he would do would be to buy an alpaca.
Kenedee Rittenhouse is another Oklahoma contestant and she also holds Carrie Underwood as an idol. And so, Rittenhouse decided to perform Underwood’s song “I Told You So”. While Rittenhouse has so much love for Underwood, she was also freaking out over performing in front of judge Luke Bryan. Katy Perry loved Rittenhouse’s dress and said she already looks like a star. She said she also looks forward to seeing more personality in her performances.
Bryan felt that Rittenhouse’s voice wasn’t knocking him out of the park. In response, Rittenhouse said that she can knock out Perry’s song “Firework,” which is difficult to sing. Perry congratulated Rittenhouse in being able to deliver that song. All three judges ended up voting Rittenhouse through to Hollywood.
On an interesting note, Rittenhouse once sang with Carrie Underwood when she once came back to visit Checotah, according to One Country. Find here Rittenhouse’s duet with Underwood, which starts around the 2 minute mark. Rittenhouse was in 5th grade at the time.
Performer Cade Foehner has a pretty big following on his own and now he’s one of the singers included in Hollywood Week. He actually auditioned for The Voice a few years ago, but failed to make the cut, according to Idol Chatter, but it looks like American Idol had a different opinion. Auditioning for The Voice, Foehner revealed that, “I learned so much about myself as an artist and who I am as a singer. It was an amazing thing, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Foehner is a classic southern rocker from Shelby, Texas, and he’s great on the guitar as well. Previously, he was a part of the group Johnson’s Lost Crowes.
Gabbii Jones performed Ariana Grande’s song “Dangerous Woman” for her audition on American Idol. She came into her audition with spunk, energy and head-to-toe glitter. She’s a 20-year-old caretaker, but it’s clear that her passion is music. Lionel Richie enjoyed Jones’ rendition so much that he got up and gave her a hug immediately after her performance. She was ecstatic.
Richie said that the core of Jones is exciting, while Katy Perry said that the song she chose is a very difficult song to sing. Bryan felt that she gave a very emotional performance. Each judge appreciated her talent and said they would love to see her in Hollywood.
Lee Vasi used the song “Love Shoulda Brought You Home” by Toni Braxton for her audition, but that was after she got wrapped up in a duet with judge Lionel Richie. Vasi said that she and her father love to sing together and that one of her favorites is Richie’s song “Zoom”. Richie began to sing and made his way over to Vasi, who joined in with her own vocals. As her father heard her singing from outside the room, he began to smile and laugh in disbelief that his daughter was singing with Richie.
Vasi hails from North Carolina and said she’s a huge fan of each judge. She currently works as a retail associate, but singing is clearly her focus. Vasi’s performance was met with mixed reviews and it almost seemed like she would not be granted a ticket to Hollywood. She was a bit pitchy and the judges felt Vasi lacked control in her vocals. Katy Perry felt that Vasi’s nerves had gotten to her. Fortunately for Vasi, she made it through, and her mother, Maureen Vargas, and father, Dwight Sullivan, were right outside the door to congratulate her. Dad Sullivan gushed that, “You want all the best things for your children, and when you can’t control it, it’s a scary thing. I’m proud of her. When I see how she handles the press, I’m proud of that. To see her be able to be witty and funny, that makes me proud.”
Halle Vargas-Sullivan is Vasi’s real name, while Lee Vasi is her stage name, according to The Fayettesville Observer.
Trevor Holmes stole Katy Perry’s heart during his audition on the show and Perry almost stole Holmes away from his girlfriend, Sierra Nielsen, who was waiting outside the room. During his audition, Holmes admitted to Perry that he’s had a crush on her for years and Perry couldn’t help but flirt back. Appearing on Good Morning America, Holmes said that performing in front of his celebrity crush, Perry, was pretty surreal. Nielsen joked that she told Perry they could share Holmes.
When Holmes first walked in for his audition, both Luke Bryan and Katy Perry told him he was a “dreamboat.” Holmes said that he works in construction to help support his mother, who has Lupus, and he is also a part-time songwriter.
Lorenzo hails from Philadelphia and he came into his audition with a performance of Allen Stone’s “Unaware.” He said he grew up in a rough area and that his father was murdered when he was just 5 years old. Lorenzo said that he started going down the wrong path, but when his grandparents bought him a guitar at age 16, it changed his life. He has been singing and playing the guitar ever since. Lorenzo bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, in hopes of making something of himself. When he applied for a job in LA, he was living in a tent. Today, he has a girlfriend and a cute baby daughter. He said that he grew up without a father and he doesn’t want the same for his little girl.
Luke Bryan said that Lorenzo’s journey is the reason he signed up to be a judge. Each of the judges gushed over his performance and were excited to welcome him to the competition.
Ada Vox was the final contestant shown in the auditions on the show. Vox is actually Adam Sanders and his drag name is “Ada Vox”. He actually auditioned for the show during season 12, but he didn’t make it passed the top 50. For this audition, he showed up as his drag persona and the judges couldn’t believe it was the same person when they looked up his first audition on their phones.
Vox said that his sexuality and appearance were hit hard by haters on social media after his first appearance on the show. He said that some people told him he should kill himself. Vox then became depressed. Fortunately, he was able to build himself up, despite the negativity. Vox said that during the day, he works at a seafood restaurant and that he is a drag performer at night. After performing “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals for the Idol judges, they couldn’t get over Vox’s vocal range and his overall talent.
Several contestants who are featured on tonight’s episode of Hollywood Week were not necessarily highlighted as well during the auditions episodes on the series thus far. Joshua Ward has tons of songs and covers that he’s done, posted on YouTube, and now he is a contestant on American Idol. Cesley Parrish is another contestant, whose audition wasn’t front and center, along with the televised auditions. Like Ward, contestant Kaitlann Runnels has flooded YouTube with her singing and her covers as well.