American Idol returns for Season 18 on Sunday night and during the two-hour premiere on ABC, viewers will not only get reacquainted with the show’s three all-star judges – Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryant, but will be introduced to a slew of fresh talent.
With Ryan Seacrest returning as the series’ host, American Idol is kicking things off with a strong start, and one of the premiere episode’s standout contestants is Nick Merico. The 24-year-old originally from Miami, Florida, may seem familiar because he had all three judges eating out of the palm of his hand last season.
During his initial Idol audition, in which he sang a rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black,” and since appearing on the show, Merico has garnered 218K followers on Instagram. However, he was already famous for previously starring on the Nickelodeon series, Every Witch Way. Merico now resides in Los Angeles.
Here’s what you need to know about Nick Merico:
1. Merico Was Forced To Quit ‘American Idol’ Last Season Due To A Family Emergency
During a Skype video interview with Colt Balok, Merico revealed that while he was incredibly excited to get a Golden Ticket to Hollywood during Season 17, that ultimately, he had to walk away from the show.
“Unfortunately, something happened with my family that I can’t really disclose that forced me to back out of the competition,” Merico explained. “And I hate to say that, but that’s what happened. It’s the truth, man.”
Merico didn’t go into any details as to what happened with his family, but it must’ve been pretty serious for him to walk away from the reality competition series after having such an incredibly successful audition. He is extremely close with his parents, Cheryl and Fredy Merico, and older sister Lexi.
However, Merico is back again and viewers can expect him to be heavily featured Season 18 premiere.
2. Merico Played The Love Interest On The Nickelodeon Series ‘Every Witch Way’
Merico played swim team champion Daniel Miller on the series which ran from 2014 to 2015, the love interest of two witches, Emma (Paola Andino) and Maddie (Paris Smith). While the experience was a huge break for his acting career, Mericao told the judges last season that “at the bottom of my heart I knew music was always what I wanted to do and that’s where my soul lies.”
According to IMDB, his first TV part was a role on the reboot of Charlie’s Angels in 2011. Merico’s other acting credits include Trico Tri Happy Halloween and The Haunted Hathaways. In 2019, he appeared in the short film First Timers.
3. Merico Already Has Original Music That’s Available To Download & Stream
Merico’s debut single, “I Won’t Let You Go,” was released in 2013, and he dropped a few other tracks in 2015. Following his brief sting on Idol last season, Merico announced that he was signed to a label, and in March 2018, he released the single, “Say Your Love,” which showcases how much he’s grown up and matured over the years. Merico continues to impressively switch off playing guitar or piano when he performs.
Merico also enjoys sharing covers of popular songs on social media. He’s done renditions of Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams” and Dua Lipa’s “New Rules.”
4. Judge Katy Perry Has a Huge Crush On Merico, Who Appears To Be Single
If Merico is dating anyone special than he is doing a really good job of keeping it under wraps. For those that remember Merico’s audition last season, judge Katy Perry could barely handle the singer’s good looks. All three judges found him to be “hunkalicious.”
After he performed, Perry got out most of her critique before once again commenting on Merico’s pretty face.
“Nick, there are some people who can sing better than you, but may be missing other pieces of the puzzle. But you want to be here because you’re talented, right? And you’re a real artist, right? So make sure to focus on that. OK, I’m going to have to vote because I can’t look anymore.”
Of course, Perry is engaged to a hunk of her own, actor Orland Brown, and she’s just having fun joking around with Merico. However, for those interested in learning whether or not Merico is dating anyone seriously, the answer is no.
5. Merico Is Incredibly Close With His Older Sister Lexi
Merico’s older sister is a successful photographer living in Los Angeles. Her pictures of singer Noah Cyrus, Miley’s younger sister, have been featured in Billboard magazine. Her art profile under the name Alexa Merico shows a wide range of her photography skills.
When Lexi first relocated out West in June 2019, Nick was one of the first to congratulate her on the move. He wrote on Instagram, “I’m soo happy my sister @lexeye_ is out in LA doing what she does best ? she’s on to great things! Couldn’t be more proud of her.”