McKenna Faith Breinholt Reveals Her ‘American Idol’ Journey ‘Isn’t Over’

McKenna Faith Breinholt

Heavy/ABC "American Idol" season 22 contestant McKenna Faith Breinholt

Although “American Idol” contestant McKenna Faith Breinholt was one of two singers eliminated from season 22 during the live episode on May 5, 2024, the Arizona singer says she’ll be back.

In an Instagram post the day after Ryan Seacrest revealed she and Julia Gagnon did not receive enough votes to advance to the top 5, Breinholt wrote, “My @americanidol journey isn’t over quite yet🖤🖤 so stay tuned!”

Most likely, Breinholt was hinting at a performance on the May 19 finale, which popular contestants have been asked to be part of in previous seasons. Since she and Gagnon were sent home, they’ve each shared reflections on social media and received an outpouring of love from fans who were disappointed by the results. Gagnon even heard from one of her musical heroes, which prompted her to call the day after her elimination, ironically, “the best day of my life.”


McKenna Faith Breinholt Feels Like She ‘Went Out With a Bang’

Breinholt’s audition was one of the most emotional of the season, given that she met members of her birth family after earning the judges’ golden ticket to Hollywood. The 25-year-old’s adoptive family was also present, all tearfully listening to Breinholt sing a song written by her birth mom, singer-songwriter Amy Ross Lopez, who died in 2013 of complications from lupus, according to AZ Central.

Breinholt battled illness in recent weeks, which turned her husky voice even hoarser for her performances. But the week before her elimination from “Idol,” judge Katy Perry saved her after she landed in the bottom two. There were no judge saves on the May 5 show, though, and Breinholt once again did not receive enough votes to stay.

It’s not clear yet how many “Idol” contestants will be invited back to perform on the season finale, but in 2023, the season 21 finale featured a joint performance by the entire top 12, with several of them getting to separately sing duets with major stars, like Lucy Love‘s performance with TLC and Oliver Steele singing with Jelly Roll.

Before teasing that her own “Idol” journey isn’t over, Breinholt wrote in her Instagram post, “Went out with a bang in my opinion 🖤 and I’m really proud of that :) thank you to those who have been voting for me and making it possible for me to be here. This really just is the beginning!!”

Breinholt’s fans and peers showered her with accolades, including someone who wrote, “You are forever my American Idol and i cannot wait to see what opportunities come from this for you.”

Breinholt’s fellow contestant and show bestie Kaibrienne Richins, who made it to the top 8, commented, “went out with a bang is right 🔥🔥”

“Idol” background singer Felicia Barton wrote, “A star!!!! Loved singing with you every single time! 💖”


Julia Gagnon Fangirls Over Response From B52’s Singer Kate Pierson

Gagnon, meanwhile, woke up the morning after her elimination from the show to an avalanche of love from fans — including from the lead singer of the B-52’s, whose song “Roam” she covered the night before, coincidentally featuring the band’s guitarist, Greg Suran, playing along since he’s also part of the “Idol” backup band. The praise from Pierson prompted Gagnon to declare it “literally the best day of my life.”

But what really got Gagnon jazzed was seeing that B-52’s singer Kate Pierson had watched and loved her first song of the night so much that she posted a video of it on her own Facebook page.

Pierson wrote, “Wow, this girl knocking out Roam with some powerhouse vocals on American Idol and our own Greg Suran on guitar … This is amazing!”

In the comment section of Pierson’s post, Gagnon wrote, “I am literally on cloud 9, there’s no song I would have chosen over ‘Roam’ and no band I would have rather represented😭💕🙏🏽

Gagnon also posted a message on Instagram to her fans and friends. Sharing a photo of her last performance on “Idol” the previous night, the 21-year-old college student from Maine thanked everyone for their ongoing support but didn’t mention a return to the show like Breinholt did.

Gagnon wrote, “Good morning!!!!! Yall thank you so much for blowing up my phone with love and support!!!! I am in high spirits and could not be more at peace with last nights results, as I had no idea I would even be privileged enough to BE in top 7!!!!!! Get ready for new music, new covers, and of course more content here!!! Love yall and what an awesome journey 🤟🏽😁 #idol”

In the comment section, multiple fans compared Gagnon to Jennifer Hudson, who took seventh place on “Idol” 20 years prior, in 2004, but went on to become an EGOT winner — meaning she’s one a rare few in Hollywood who’ve won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

In one comment that was liked nearly 300 times, someone wrote, “Remember: Jennifer Hudson came in 7th in American Idol… your voice is just as phenomenal… your career is just beginning! 🎶🎉”

Fellow season 22 contestant Quintavious Johnson also weighed in, writing, “Julia!!I love you so much!! And congratulations! 🎉🎊🎈❤️ some amazing things are happening!!!”

The Top 5 “American Idol” contestants are spending the week at Disney World in Orlando before the next live Disney-themed show airing on May 12. Live voting that night will determine the Top 3, who will move on to compete in the finale.