These Are the ‘American Idol’ Contestants to Watch

Is it just us or is there a lot of talent on this season of American Idol? From the small-town surprises to the bajillion 16-year-olds with angelic voices, the judges—Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan—have their work cut out for them.

In honor of Hollywood Week, we’re taking a look at this season’s best auditions. From Alejandro Aranda to Shayy, here are the American Idol contestants to watch out for.

Margie Mays

Age: 25

She may not be the best singer Idol has ever seen, but this girl’s personality is something else. Not only did she bond with Perry over their mutual ability to trill their tongues, but she also stunned the judges with her performance of Lawrence’s “Shot.” Okurrr!

Laine Hardy

Age: 18

You probably recognize him from last season of AI, where he made it to the top 50 before getting eliminated. Although he wasn’t planning on auditioning, he played the guitar for another contestant, Ashton Gill, and the judges convinced him to take home a ticket to Hollywood.

Madison Vandenburg

Age: 16

She gave Perry her “first goosebumps” of the season when she sang “Speechless” by Dan + Shay. Oh, and did we mention the “Fireworks” singer dubbed her the next Kelly Clarkson?

Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon

Age: 25

He performed an original song on the piano called “Almost Heaven,” and Perry’s reaction says it all.


Age: 17

The high school student revealed she recently became legally blind before performing a flawless cover of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”

“You have wrecked me,” Richie said. “Thank you for that.”

Kai Wilson

Age: 19

Grab the tissues, ladies and gents, because this one’s a tearjerker. Meet Khalifa or “Kai,” a 19-year-old girl who didn’t have an easy childhood. In fact, her church helped get her to the audition, so she could blow the judges away with her cover of The Temptations’ “My Girl.”

Ethan Payne

Age: 15

He’s no stranger to being in the same room as Bryan, considering he previously met the “Country Girl” singer through Make-A-Wish after he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. So, Bryan joined him on the audition floor and performed an unforgettable duet to “Do I.” Yeah, pretty cool.

Alejandro Aranda

Age: 24

He wowed the judges with his natural musical ability. After playing an original song on the guitar called “Out Loud,” Aranda took a seat at the piano and flawlessly performed another track he wrote.

All we have to say is…don’t judge a book by its cover.

Greta Heggeness

Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...
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