American Idol 2020 Premiere Recap: Watch Audition Videos & Highlights
After weeks of anticipation, American Idol is back! Season 3 sees the return of judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie, and host Ryan Seacrest, plus the addition of Bobby Bones as a mentor. And that's not the only change coming -- expect the unexpected at every phase as a new journey begins to find the next Idol!
The Idol bus once again set off across the United States, from the smallest town to the biggest city, to find some of the greatest talent the country has to offer. And boy did it deliver! Here's a rundown of the memorable singers from Episode 1:
Doug Kiker - 27, Mobile, AL
A natural singer with zero training, garbage collector Doug walks in, introduces himself, and then gets directed to get warmed up with Ryan by the judges. Ryan escorts him out of the building and down the street to sing in front of strangers. Meanwhile…
Camryn Leigh Smith, 16 - Acworth, GA
A high school student and worship leader who primarily sings in the church she grew up in, Camryn accompanies herself on guitar on "Big White Room" by Jessie J. She reminds Luke of a young Katy and gets a standing ovation from Katy. She gives all the judges a good vibe for Season 3 and gets the first ticket to Hollywood.
Doug Is Finally Warm
Doug is auditioning to show his young daughter that anything is possible. Flustered but determined, Doug delivers a solid audition with "Bless The Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts, hampered by nerves but charming nonetheless. His voice reaches another level when Luke accompanies him on piano. His ticket to Hollywood came with hugs from every judge and a few tears from everyone in the room.
Francisco Martin - 18, San Francisco, CA
Francisco states that he struggles with self-confidence and his nerves are very apparent as he takes his mark (he flubs his words immediately). Lionel and Luke spring to their feet to help put him at ease. More centered, Francisco delivers a knockout audition singing "Alaska" by Maggie Rogers and an original called "Aussie". Katy thinks he'll make the Top 10, Lionel thinks he's Top 5, and Luke thinks he might just win - a big vote of confidence to go with his Golden Ticket.
Hunter Gibson aka The Comeback - 23, Arcadia, CA
Hunter comes in with a lot of energy and it doesn't diminish one iota during his performance of "Swing Swing" by The All-American Rejects. Katy sings along some and he kind of barrels through when stopped to finish. The judges appreciate his verve and Katy agrees the kind of rock he represents is poised for a comeback, but ultimately felt he wasn't the right fit for the show right now.
Nick Merico - 23, Woodland Hills, CA
People likely remember Nick from last year -- he made it to Hollywood Week but, as he briefly explains, he had to drop out for personal reasons. So, he's back to try again. Katy and Luke do bring up the fact that he, to quote Luke, "abandoned us" but earns their yeses after playing piano and performing "You Say" by Lauren Daigle. Katy believes his ego is the thing that will get in his way and Lionel, in a shocking move, says he "just plan doesn't like him". It turns out that he was just trying to teach Nick the lesson of what it feels like for people to not like him. Lionel feels he needs to be humbled in order to be built back up and succeed. With this, Nick get his ticket to Hollywood and perhaps a new perspective.
Arthur Gunn - 21, Wichita, KS
Originally from Katmandu, Nepal, Arthur went to an open call at an Idol bus stop in Wichita. He wows the judges with performances of Bob Dylan's "Girl From North County" and Clearance Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" (Lionel and Luke actually high five each other during his second song). Luke offered him an opening spot at his upcoming show and they're all blown away by this genuine American dream story. Arthur's next stop is Hollywood.
Alisa Ermolaev - 28, Queens, NY
Originally from Russia, rock singer (and actress) with a unique look Alisa commands your attention. She performs an original song called "Say Goodbye" and an untitled original when Katy asks if she knows any Heart (she doesn't). While the judges very much appreciate her energy and knack for engagement and entertainment, they don't feel she's right for the show right now with Lionel adding he can't wait to see her act in the real world.
Louis Knight, 19 - Philadelphia, PA
Part-time pizza deliverer/full-time songwriter Louis moved to Philly with his family from London, England when he was 10 years old. He and his brother joined a soccer club and befriended a boy named Russell who unfortunately passed by taking his own life. Louis performs the song he composed in his honor, "Change", at his audition. Luke says he might be the biggest star they've had on Idol. All the judges are impressed by his talent and Louis gets another unanimous Golden Ticket.
Saveria - 22, London, ON, CAN
As a child, Saveria was a professional singer doing kids cover music in Canada from age 9 to 13-years-old. Having auditioned unsuccessfully some in the interim, she's since regrouped and began songwriting. She auditions with one of her originals called "Tell Me This Is Real". Lionel is a no "for now" as he feels she needs to do more work to really find her voice and sending her through now won't help her. Katy says that the mentorship they offer through the process will be exactly what Saveria needs, leaving Luke the deciding vote. Ultimately, Luke agrees with Lionel. Katy is not happy and proceeds to knock stuff over on the set for emphasis.
Meghan Fitton - 23, Brooklyn, NY
Fitness instructor and Bachelor superfan (with a small podcast), Meghan's smoky voice surprises Lionel. She performs "Where You're At" by Allen Stone. Katy says she needs to learn how to connect her great moments, like driving stick without stuttering, but all the judges agree she has a lot of potential. As a surprise, Katy video chats in Bachelor host Chris Harrison who gives Meghan her final rose, er, Golden Ticket.
Just Sam - 20, Harlem, NY
The final audition of the premiere is Just Sam, a subway singer by trade. Sam started off with some nerves and was a bit overcome by emotions but the judges could tell she had a lot to offer. They all gathered around her for a group hug and encouraged her. On Sam's second song, "Rise Up" by Audra Day, she did the intro she usually does on trains before singing and absolutely nailed it. It was a very emotional audition as Sam reveals some of her hardships, inspiring Lionel to assure her that Auntie Katy, Uncle Luke, and Papa Lionel will all support her during her Idol journey.
And that's it for American Idol's Season 3 premiere! Which contestants will make it to the Top 20? The journey has just begun and there's more memorable performances in store, so don't miss out as the auditions continue on SUNDAYS 8|7c on ABC!