‘American Idol’ Contestants & Fans React to Biggest Talent Cut in Show’s History

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Heavy/ABC "American Idol" season 22 Hollywood Week results

Though 143 talented singers who auditioned for season 22 of “American Idol” earned golden tickets, advancing them to Hollywood, over half of those singers were sent home on the shocking first night of Hollywood Week. As the two-hour episode aired on March 31, 2024, fans and contestants took to social media with strong reactions to the first-ever “Idol Arena” format and what amounted to the biggest one-night cuts in the show’s history.

Producers eschewed the typical group and duet performances of Hollywood Week, known for revealing clashing personalities and mistakes made by sleep-deprived contestants, to give each contestant a chance to shine individually.

But there was still plenty of drama and anxiety as each hopeful had to perform a planned song  whenever their name was called, with all of the other contestants them watching from both sides of the stage. After celebrity judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan watched all of the contestants perform in random order and discussed their potential, only 56 hopefuls remained by the end of the night.

SPOILERS AHEAD: If you have not watched the first night of season 22’s Hollywood Week, please be aware that results are revealed in the article below. 

Multiple Fan Favorites Already Out of ‘Idol’ Competition

Even before the first night of Hollywood Week aired, it was revealed that a couple of contestants were already out of the competition. On March 26, San Antonio native Liliana Tovar Dalton — who auditioned for the judges with an original tune called “5%” and tickled many viewers by accidentally swearing during her audition — surprised fans on Instagram with the news that she’d withdrawn from the show before Hollywood Week.

She wrote, “i am eternally grateful for the experience and the advice given to me by artists i so look up to. lots of exciting news coming up for those who continue to follow my journey!!!!”

Her followers were clearly disappointed by the news, with one who insisted she could have won the season and another who wrote the morning after the episode aired, “Why!!!!! I was looking for you last night! 😭”

Meanwhile, Kosovo native Kimi, who tugged at viewers’ heartstrings during his audition with his story of leaving his homeland and beloved mom to pursue a music career, told his Instagram followers hours before the show aired that “I won’t be performing at Hollywood week.” Kimi was seen in the background on the episode and posted photos of himself chatting with Perry in the “Idol Arena.” Though he didn’t explain what happened, he assured his followers that “this is just the beginning” of his career.

C.J. Rislove, who received lots of “Idol” airtime for his audition after he arrived on his refurbished school bus dubbed the “Jazz Wagon,” didn’t make the judges’ cut either and his “Idol Arena” performance didn’t air. At the time of publication, Rislove hadn’t directly addressed his elimination from the show but did share a video on March 31 in which he said his mom had launched a “Jazz Wagon Studio” website for his fans.

Rislove’s growing fanbase has begun expressing their disappointment on that post about his elimination, including one person who wrote, “I am in total shock😮 and very sad. 😢”

Another popular contestant who was barely shown on the March 31 episode and didn’t make the cut was Noah Peters, known as “The Singing Barber,” who cut season 21 star Colin Stough’s hair during his audition.

After it was revealed he didn’t make the “Idol” cut, the Tennessee barber wrote on Instagram, “Hollywood week was absolutely amazing. This is not the end y’all, it’s the beginning. Thank you to @americanidol for the awesome experience!”

Abby Blake, whose friend and audition pianist Kayko was an “accidental” golden ticket winner when the judges heard him sing, did not make it through to the next round, but Kayko did. On Instagram right after the episode aired, Kayko playfully asked Blake if they could still be friends.

Blake responded, “love you forever and ever,” and then added, “now you have to win it all.”

Additional contestants who got the boot during the major cut, according to USA Today, include Conall Gorman, Bethany Teague, Meggie Iyer, Jacy Matthews (whose sister Mia did make it through), Amari Scott Keys and Athena Jett.

Madaí Chakell Became the Most Controversial Contestant Before Being Cut

The contestant who sparked the most division among fans during the March 31 episode was 22-year-old Madaí Chakell, who stopped the pianist twice before deciding to sing acapella. The soulful singer then complained to producers about the arrangement and expressed how irritated she was that Bryan had asked whether her voice was feeling “100 percent.”

After being granted a rare second chance at her performance and Bryan muttering that her approach was not going to being appreciated by the audience, Chakell was cut.

Social media erupted with people’s takes on Chakell’s performances and comments, with many upset by her attitude, including one viewer who tweeted, “And the most obnoxious with a massively inflated ego not based on talent goes to…..Madai! Your whole persona is not cute, sis. At all.”

But on the singer’s Instagram and TikTok feeds, others were supportive of her, including one who wrote, “Girl you the Azealia Banks of American Idol & I’m living for you putting the basic boring Luke in his place 😂👏🏼”

‘American Idol’ Judges Send 56 Contestants Through to Showstopper Round

In February, spoiler site Idol Pad, which has published behind-the-scenes “American Idol” results for years, finalized a list of 57 contestants who made it through the first round of Hollywood Week. However, a voiceover during the episode said 56 made it through — three of whom are platinum ticket recipients Odell Bunton Jr., Abi Carter and Julia Gagnon, who automatically advanced to the next round but still performed “California Dreamin'” together.

After cross-checking each listed contestant’s social media and local news reports, Heavy can confirm these contestants are among the top 56 going into the Showstopper Round, airing on April 1.

  • Justice Murphy
  • Kayko
  • Alto Moon
  • Sophia Ava Marie
  • Ajii
  • Christine Umali
  • Brant McCollough
  • Alyssa Raghu
  • Hailey Mia
  • B.K. WitDaVoice
  • Mackenzie Sol
  • Will Moseley
  • K-Blocks
  • Elleigh Francom
  • Ziggy Krassenberg
  • Laela Dasher
  • Max Dasher
  • Isaiah Case
  • Ty’Esha Lashay
  • Dawson Slade Mitchell
  • Scarlett Lee
  • Mia Makana Matthews
  • Emmy Russell
  • Julian Cross
  • Anna Grace
  • Jaxon Wayne Boardman
  • Jordan Anthony
  • Mikayla Paige Ochs
  • Ava Nicole Frances
  • Kennedy Reid
  • Kenny Holland
  • Jayna Elise Brown
  • McKenna Breinholt
  • Quintavious Johnson
  • Victoria Johnson
  • Nick Connors
  • Cate Gartner
  • Hayley Rashel
  • Reagan Mills
  • Hunter Behrman
  • Emery Robbins
  • Emma Murdock
  • Michael Rice
  • Triston Harper
  • Micaela McCall
  • Roman Collins
  • Blake Proehl
  • Nyachomba “Nya” Muchai-Kinya
  • Jennifer Jeffries
  • Jack Blocker
  • K.B. Richins