TikTok Prankster Mackenzie Sol Was Contacted by ‘American Idol’ to Audition

Mackenzie Sol

Heavy/ABC TikTok star Mackenzie Sol auditions for "American Idol" season 22

Auditioning for season 22 of “American Idol” was a turning point for Mackenzie Sol, 23, who’s generated a huge online following for his prankster videos. The TikTok star hopes appearing on the show will allow him to shift his focus back to his true love: music.

Sol first went viral at age four, singing on “X-Factor UK,” and has since attracted millions of followers on social media, including 12.4 million TikTok followers, primarily for posting funny pranks pulled on his friends and family, with many videos featuring his mom going viral. But Sol has long wished he could attract the same kind of attention for his musical talents.

Born in Great Britain as Mackenzie Sol Williamson, he’s lived in the U.S. with his family since he was 13, trying to gain traction as an entertainer. He recently told Las Vegas station KTNV that after an “Idol” producer saw him sing and reached out to him, he went through three virtual rounds of auditions and then was told he’d get to audition for the judges in Santa Barbara, California.

“‘American Idol’ has given me a chance to show people who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing,” he told the station.

Here’s what you need to know:

Mackenzie Sol Says He Struggled With Bullying & Intense Competition as a Creative Kid

When Sol appeared on “X-Factor UK” in an adorable audition that went viral, he was far too young to compete on the show, which required that contestants be 16 or older. But he was determined even then to try to beat the odds.

His early fame allowed for lots of cool experiences in entertainment when he was young, like appearing at a concert with Josh Groban, Jennifer Hudson and Babyface, ReVamp magazine reported. He also provided the voice for P.U.P in the “Airbud Pup Star” series on Netflix.

But his childhood passions were marred by lots of bullying from other kids, he told the U.S. Sun in 2021.

“I got bullied my whole life in school,” he said. “I did ballet, I was Billy Elliot.”

After participating in a Florida talent convention at age 13, he told The Sun, his family relocated to Los Angeles, where he appeared in a Nickelodeon pilot and signed small music deal with family friends that petered out.

Eventually they moved to Las Vegas, burnt out by all the competition in LA, per The Sun. That’s when he started to realize the power of social media to gain exposure, which has been a blessing and a curse.

“I realized after that social media is the key unfortunately,” he said. “The music industry isn’t what it used to be, which is sing in front of someone and get a huge deal. You have to have numbers, which is sad. There’s a lot of talented people who don’t get the opportunity they deserve.”

Mackenzie Sol Says He Hopes ‘American Idol’ Journey Allows Him to Shift His Social Media Focus From Comedy to Music

Though Sol has generated a huge following, he told KTNV he gained popularity for doing things he doesn’t want to be the focus of his career and that he worries his prankster videos have limited him.

“It’s incredible, I love it, but it’s not me,” he said. “It’s like telling a heart surgeon or someone who wants to be a heart surgeon (that) they can only take blood pressure. That’s how my social media feels, you know?”

Sol, whose mom and dad were touring musicians when he was young, has released multiple singles over the years and worked with famed songwriters like Diane Warren, but hasn’t hit it big the way he hopes.

“Being a superstar is definitely my aim,” he told Sweety High in September. However, any form of success would be satisfying. I love to write, so that’s another thing I want to do more of—writing for others and helping others reach their goals, too.”

Sol told KTNV he plans to release more songs he’s written after viewers see him on “American Idol” and that the show will be a springboard for his music career.

“This show is really gonna leverage me being able to do music and just being able to show people I’m supposed to be doing and not the comedy, not the silly skits,” he said. “I think the show is really going to help me find myself and what I’m supposed to be doing on social media, and on a stage and wherever this takes me.”