American Idol Returns

April 21, 2018

You all heard the commercials, read the updates on your feed, and excitedly counted down the days. Now it’s finally here; hit singing TV show American Idol has returned to the ABC network. Now, as the opportunity for America to vote is approaching, I’m here to catch you up on all that’s gone on this season so far.

For those who aren’t familiar with the show, American Idol, which started in 2002, is one of the original singing television shows. Many of the past victors have now made their claim to fame, including singing icon Carrie Underwood, current coach of The Voice Kelly Clarkson, and Jordin Sparks: the series’ youngest winner and current actress.

This year’s show features Katy Perry, American singer-songwriter and one of the top-selling artists of all time, as one of the judges. Her quirky, outgoing personality is off-set by the wise and soft-spoken Lionel Richie. Richie is a five-time Grammy Award winner who started his solo career back in 1982 after splitting from the Commodores. The third and final judge is country music superstar and heartthrob Luke Bryan, who has most recently won CMT Performer of the Year. Between these judges, the genres of pop, R&B, and country are covered; this makes these judges the perfect people to advise the contestants. Though I originally found some of the judges’ antics to be more annoying than endearing, they have since grown on me as I’ve gotten more invested in both them and the contestants.

The show began with an inspiring opening clip stressing the fact that everyone in America is represented and that anyone can be a star. With audition centers in New York, Nashville, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and more, this proved to be true. Contestants of all different genres with all different styles lined up for blocks outside the audition centers just hoping to get their shot at being the next idol. Many artists were eliminated during these initial auditions, but many began to see their dreams coming true as the judges delivered the golden ticket and the iconic “You’re going to Hollywood!”

With all of the surviving contestants determined, Hollywood Week began. During this week the contestants went through grueling individual and group performances, as well as anxiety-inducing elimination rounds. The judges really knew how to get me on the edge of my seat waiting to see which line, room, or group would continue. I was impressed with the structure of the show; they knew how to shape a future star, analyzing skills like endurance and performance ability that go beyond simple vocals.

The next rounds focused on solo numbers with a band, with the top 24 being announced through one-on-one meetings with the judges.

Thus began the celebrity duets, the most recent round and my personal favorite so far. They were joined by big-time musicians, including Andy Grammer and Sugarland.

The star-studded top 14 lineup contains all varieties of people, with backstories as unique as their voices. Ranging from ages 15 to 28, this contestant pool has delivered both raw performances that reflect their previous hardships along with those containing more powerful vocals, showcasing their strength.

Though I was a bit skeptical as to how this season would fare when it was first announced, I have been pleasantly surprised with the episodes so far. I have definitely grown emotionally attached to each contestant’s unique personality and vocals, and have gotten my fair share of “chillbumps” throughout the season so far.

If you want a part in determining America’s next biggest star, be sure to download the American Idol app to vote for your favorites starting April 22.

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