is back! To quote the famous Peaches and Herb song, "Reunited and it feels so good." The most successful singing competition show may be on a new network and have a new panel of judges, but it still feels like the same Idol
that us diehard fans love so much.
When the series initially went off the air in 2016, I published an op-ed
in which I discussed what American Idol
has meant to me over the years. It was hard to let go after 15 seasons. I ended that article by saying, "This isn't a goodbye -- not really. ... Instead, I will say ... until next time."
Well, next time is here a mere two years later, now on ABC with new judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, as well as returning host Ryan Seacrest, so let's get right into it!
The season 16 premiere, which saw 10.3 million viewers tuning in, featured a lot of talented singers. Some of the standouts include Catie Turner, Run Bultongez, Maddie Poppe, Harper Grace, Alyssa Raghu and Dennis Lorenzo.
For Catie Turner, what really stood out to me was how intriguing of a songwriter she is. She's obviously got a nice voice and her hyper personality won't be forgotten anytime soon. But if there's a chance for her to showcase another original song in this competition (maybe as soon as Hollywood Week?), then I can see the judges keeping her around for a while.
Harper Grace majorly redeemed herself in her audition after being known for a disaster of a National Anthem performance at just 11 years old. Now 16, this country music singer came into the audition room and performed an original song called "Yard Sale." Now, that's the kind of country song that I could hear on the radio. I am really impressed with her songwriting skills. It's crafted perfectly for this genre. I'm really excited by her potential on this show, and I can see her doing well.
Dennis Lorenzo stood out not just for having a really nice, smooth voice during his audition performance that felt understated in a good way, but also for his tragic backstory. With everything he's been through, he can use that pain to tell a story in his performances. That can definitely be a good thing -- and something that can help him going forward, though he now needs to make sure that the backstory isn't the overwhelming reason we remember him.
Choosing who you think gave the best audition of the night is very much subjective. I can understand why any of the singers I mentioned above would be someone's favorite because I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next as well.
The Best Singer of the Night
But who I'm going with is 16-year-old Alyssa Raghu, who wowed everyone with her cover of Ariana Grande and Nathan Sykes' "Almost is Never Enough." When we talk about vocal talents on these singing competition shows, a voice like Alyssa's is what we all hope to find. She has such a mature and developed voice. I can see her belting it out on the Idol stage, but her audition proved that she can showcase her big voice without letting it get out of control; that's key. The judges were going gaga over Alyssa -- and for good reason.
You look at someone like Layla Spring, who's the same age as Alyssa, and it's clear that Layla's young age/lack of experience really showed during her performance, despite having some really nice moments in the song. But Alyssa proved what I've said countless times -- it doesn't matter how old you are because talent is talent.
And for the network that's now airing Idol, it surely doesn't hurt that Alyssa is a huge fan of Disney. It's all good for the brand.
Who do you think had the best audition of the night? Did Alyssa's beautiful voice stand out to you? Who else are you looking forward to seeing in future rounds? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
(Image and video courtesy of ABC)