'American Idol' season 4 premiere recap: Tears, speedos and chills, oh my

DANIELLE LONG
·2 min read

"American Idol" is back! Season 4 of the ABC singing competition show premiered Sunday night with judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie along with host Ryan Seacrest.

Despite the fact that the show was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, not much looked different aside from the judges being spaced apart. New this season, however, is an area where contestants are able to video chat with their loved ones via a 3-panel screen. Other than that, it was business as usual with the judges on a quest to find the next American Idol.

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First up to audition was Benson Boone, an 18-year-old from Washington, who, after singing "Punchline" by Aidan Martin, had Perry declaring that he could be the next winner if he wanted to be.

PHOTO: Benson Boone performs on ABC's television show, 'American Idol,' during the season premiere, Feb. 14, 2021. (Christopher Willard/ABC)
PHOTO: Benson Boone performs on ABC's television show, 'American Idol,' during the season premiere, Feb. 14, 2021. (Christopher Willard/ABC)

Meanwhile, contestant Anilee List didn't let her Tourette syndrome stop her from following her dreams. She left Luke covered in goosebumps after her "flawless" rendition of Aaron Taylor's "Blue."

DJ Johnson had the whole room in tears after she sang her original ballad "Scars" -- a track she wrote about her mother who left her father with their 10 kids.

PHOTO: Claudia Conway performs on ABC's television show, 'American Idol,' during the season premiere, Feb. 14, 2021. (Christopher Willard/ABC)
PHOTO: Claudia Conway performs on ABC's television show, 'American Idol,' during the season premiere, Feb. 14, 2021. (Christopher Willard/ABC)

Claudia Conway, the daughter of Kellyanne Conway and George Conway, also stopped by the "American Idol" auditions. She attempted Rihanna's "Love on the Brain" before Perry stopped her. Conway then tried her hand at Adele's "When We Were Young," which convinced Perry and Richie to send her to Hollywood.

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Rounding out the night was Grace Kinstler. After singing both "Midnight Train To Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin, Bryan compared the audition to former "American Idol" stars Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson.

PHOTO: Claudia Conway performs on ABC's television show, 'American Idol,' during the season premiere, Feb. 14, 2021. (Christopher Willard/ABC)
PHOTO: Claudia Conway performs on ABC's television show, 'American Idol,' during the season premiere, Feb. 14, 2021. (Christopher Willard/ABC)

Of course, it wouldn't be "American Idol" if there weren't a few outlandish wannabes.

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Among them was 16-year-old Ryan Romano, who came in "feeling like a million bucks." But the judges weren't sold that his vocals matched. He didn't walk away with a trip to Hollywood, but he did walk away $400 richer after Perry decided to buy the sequined jacket he was wearing for her father.

There was also Mario Adrion, who showed off his talents while wearing a red-and-white striped speedo. He didn't pick up a golden ticket but he did get all three judges up out of their seats for a catwalk battle.

"American Idol" season 4 returns next Sunday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. on ABC.

'American Idol' season 4 premiere recap: Tears, speedos and chills, oh my originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com