Reunited and it feels so good! ABC brought the stars of “American Idol” back together after a busy summer to officially kick off the next season, releasing an official photo of the crew together. Here’s the scoop on their reunion and some of the new contestants heading to top-secret auditions with the stars…
Cast Meets Up in Las Vegas For First Auditions
“American Idol” judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan met up with longtime host Ryan Seacrest in Las Vegas on Sunday, September 25, 2022, posing for an official photo and getting ready for their sixth season together on ABC, and the 21st season overall for the show.
At this point, the judges are chasing the record held by the show’s original judging trio — Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson — who were together on the show for the first eight seasons.
Richie and Seacrest didn’t have to go far for the reunion; they were together over the weekend for the two-day iHeart Music Festival, where Richie received rave reviews for his performance and Seacrest had hosting duties. Seacrest shared a backstage photo of the two together, and also uploaded videos of him watching Richie’s performance on September 24.
Though many scoffed at ABC’s 2017 announcement that it would revive “Idol” after its run on FOX, the show has become a ratings juggernaut for the network. In a press release about the upcoming season, ABC said the show was the No. 1 series in its two-hour time period for the third year in a row among Adults 18-49. In addition, “American Idol” was one of the Top 3 unscripted TV series last season among all viewers.
Contestants Are Beginning Top Secret Auditions
Though an exact 2023 premiere date hasn’t been announced for the show, “American Idol” filming is beginning in “judge cities,” starting with Las Vegas, where contestants who have made it through the online audition process will try out in front of the celebrity judges, hoping to earn a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Once a singer is selected to audition for the judges, they must agree to stay tight-lipped about their experiences, even with friends and family, until after the show airs in 2023. However, a few of them have spilled some details via social media or to local media.
One known contestant heading to Las Vegas is repeat-contestant Haley Slaton, who was a 23-year-old mom-to-be in the fall of 2021, when she auditioned for the “American Idol” judges in Austin, Texas. The fan-favorite was eight months pregnant when advanced to Hollywood Week, but she didn’t make it past the duet round.
On August 29, Slaton revealed on Instagram that she tried out again and made it through the online auditions for season 21. Now the mom of eight-month-old Jaelyn Amir Myles, the singer told 98.1 KHAK in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that she’s auditioning for the judges in Las Vegas and hopes to go further in the competition this time.
Another contestant invited to the Las Vegas auditions is 16-year-old Elle Buzzard from Centralia, Washington. She told her local paper, The Chronicle, that she had three virtual auditions across several weeks, advancing each time until she was with a group of 500 hopefuls in an online waiting room. Buzzard said she was one of just nine people from the group who were selected to move on to audition for the celebrity judges.
The stars are also expected to film auditions in New Orleans in early October. Kam’ron Lawson, a Wal-Mart check-out clerk in Beckley, West Virginia, was celebrated by his employer and the local media for making it through the online rounds to move onto auditions in New Orleans the week of October 7.
“Idol” hopefuls can still sign up to audition online by singing live in front of a producer or submitting a video through early October. Those who make it through during the final online tryouts will attend in-person auditions in another “judge city” later in the fall.