‘American Idol’ Fans Upset Over Alyssa Raghu’s Return to Show

Alyssa Raghu, Julia Davo

Heavy/ABC Best friends Alyssa Raghu and Julia Davo on "American Idol" season 22

Singer Alyssa Raghu, 21, hopes the third time’s the charm for her on “American Idol.” But many fans are up in arms over the way Raghu, who had competed twice before on the show, managed to earn her third ticket to Hollywood on the episode that aired March 17, 2024.

Raghu made it to the Top 24 on season 16 of “American Idol,” and cracked the Top 10 during season 17. She attended the season 22 auditions to support her best friend, Julia Davo, as she tried out for the first time.

But when Davo didn’t make it through to Hollywood, Raghu entered the room, hugged the celebrity judges — Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan — and then asked if she could show them how much she’d grown vocally since last appearing on the show. While Davo watched nervously on the sidelines, Raghu impressed the judges with her vocals and then asked them for another trip to Hollywood Week.

As Richie and Bryan sent her through with “yes” votes, fans immediately began flooding the social media accounts of “American Idol” and Raghu, stunned by her treatment of Davo and disappointed that the show would allow Raghu through in that manner. The backlash has been so swift that Raghu issued a statement after the show aired.

Here’s what you need to know:

Fans Flood Social Media With Complaints About Alyssa Raghu’s Treatment of Her Friend

As the episode began, Raghu posted an Instagram photo of herself on the show and wrote, “ummm it’s TIME! @americanidol is on right now. Tune in for the wildest episode yet”

Raghu sang an excerpt of Mariah Carey’s “My All” for the judges. Perry told her she’d definitely grown, but because she didn’t think she’d be able to win the competition, she wasn’t willing to vote her through.

The judges encouraged Davo to watch and learn from Raghu as she goes through the process again, and Davo begged them to let her go along for the ride with a golden ticket — but to no avail. As they left the audition space, Raghu hugged Davo and asked if she was okay, to which she repeatedly told her bestie she “deserved” to get through because she’s “worked so hard.”

Viewers weren’t buying it, though, and immediately flooded Raghu’s most recent Instagram post with complaints.

“I’m sorry but why did you steal that from your friend that was so rude,” one person wrote.
“You have already been on the show, she should have gotten through.”

Someone else interjected, “You’re extremely rude. Using your friend to get yourself on to American idol? That was so terrible to watch. You won’t win 🤷🏻‍♀️”

“Using your friends audition to upstage her and get noticed,” another viewer wrote to Raghu. “You won’t go far in life stepping all over people for your own gain.”

Fans also sounded off when host Ryan Seacrest tweeted, “Plot twist. Alyssa Raghu got a golden ticket 😮 #AmericanIdol”

One person responded, “I hv watched Idol since day one and this was definitely one of the lowest moments ever. Her friend was standing there biting her lip in angst. So yuck.”

Fans also expressed their frustration on the “American Idol” YouTube video of their auditions.

One wrote, “That was diabolical 💀 I would not be her friend after that honestly” 

Another commented, “Raghu’s career and whole persona is ‘American Idol contestant.’ 🙄 She’ll come back for season 30. That whole audition was awkward for Julia.” 

Alyssa Raghu Responds to Criticism With Statement

In the midst of all the backlash, Raghu posted a statement to her Instagram and Facebook pages.

Along with a photo of she and Davo holding hands in the audition space as Raghu held her golden ticket, she wrote, “definitely a bittersweet moment. What they didn’t show was me constantly begging Julia to come on the show with me, but unfortunately the judges said no.”

She continued, “being able to grow up on this show is something so special to my heart, I want to thank the @americanidol family for teaching me so much throughout the years and showcasing me at my realest moments. huge thank you to @juliadavo for true friendship and incredible memories. Thank you all for watching, stay tuned for the next episode!”

Within minutes, dozens of fans swooped in to say that it wasn’t about the editing, but about her taking advantage of her friend’s moment with the stars.

“That was beyond messed up,” someone responded on her Facebook post. “You just walked in and completely ignored how your friend might be feeling. You’ve already had the opportunity to do this. You went there to support HER and then moved all the attention to you. Not cool. If you wanted to audition you should have made plans to do so, just like she did. I can’t even believe they allowed you to do that. Shame on them too.”

Others quickly noticed that Raghu provided the wrong handle for Davo’s Instagram account — writing @juliadavo instead of @juliadavz, leading them to a broken link. But some stood up for Raghu, saying they plan to support her going forward.

One wrote, “regardless of what everyone says in the comment section, I am always, and will always be a huge supporter of yours! You have an incredible talent, and one that I have been so honored to watch grow and develop on screen.”

Another responded, “Alyssa, U are one of the sweetest, most talented people I know, don’t let the negatively deter U from reaching GREAT heights. @juliadavz, they’re leaving the door open for your return, regroup & kick the door in‼️”

Julia Davo Remains Friends With Alyssa Raghu After ‘American Idol’ Audition

Though fans are up in arms about Raghu turning Davo’s audition into her own tryout, it seems the two singers remain friends. While their “American Idol” episode aired, Davo posted a behind-the-scenes video from her audition day and the duo exchanged compliments in the comment section.

Raghu replied, “rockstar.”

And Davo responded, “pop star🤍”

Many viewers tried to warn Davo in the comment section to walk away from their friendship, though.

“That girl is NOT your friend,” one person wrote. “She came with full intentions of walking into your audition and making it her audition! She did you & every other contestant who went through the process, so wrong. She intentionally stabbed you in the back.”

Shortly after her “American Idol” post, Davo uploaded another Instagram video of herself singing a song she said she’d just written, called “Windy Road.” Fans also filled the comment section of that post within minutes of her audition airing.

At the time of publication, she had not responded publicly to any of the criticisms of Raghu, who is expected to be seen next on the Hollywood Week episodes that begin airing March 29.