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American Idol Premiere Tonight: Meet The Contestants & How To Watch!

american idol premiere

American Idol is back for Season 22—The Emmy-winning singing contest will premiere on ABC tonight (Feb. 18) along with familiar faces Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, who have been serving as the judges, and Ryan Seacrest, who has been the host since the series kicked off in 2002.

This year’s structure will work the same as it has in the past. When the show debuts, we’ll see highlights from the auditions that took place this fall in Leesburg, Georgia; Tuskegee, Alabama; Santa Barbara, California; Los Angeles, California; and Nashville, Tennessee. Then, we watch the chaotic and exhausting Hollywood week, which includes hundreds of singers. After the judges whittle down the talent, regular people like you and me will start voting to choose the winner.

These Singers Are Getting Plenty of Hype Ahead of the Premiere

While many hopefuls will be gracing the stage during the first episodes, these singers are being tauted as some of the most promising of the bunch.

Odell Bunton Jr.

Austin, TX, native Odell Bunton is already a high-profile singing competition pro. The 29-year-old, who specializes in gospel and R&B, appeared in BET’s Sunday’s Best and made it to the top 20.

McKenna Breinholt

This 25-year-old musician from Gilbert, Arizona, brought judges to tears with her personalized rendition of There Was Jesus, which was originally sung by Christian singer Zach Williams and country superstar Dolly Parton. Dolly was so impressed with the performance that recorded a message saying it “was a blessing.”

Triston Harper

Triston’s audition was so special that American Idol pre-released the full video. In it, the 15-year-old country singer shared his heartbreaking past and sang a powerful version of Jason Isbell’s Cover Me Up.


Sariah Wertman made waves by bringing her unique old jazz style to American Idol. She has been making a living as a singing waitress in Branson, Missouri.

Blake Proehl

Blake stepped away from a career as a Minnesota Vikings practice squad player in 2023 after suffering an injury. He’s now completely focused on his singing career. He’s dropped two songs named Chapters and Waves, which appeared on the Christian band Maverick City Music’s album titled The Maverick Way Complete.

How to Watch the American Idol Season 22

It’s also fun to note that this year’s mentors will be country singer megastar Jelly Roll and Season 9 contestant Tori Kelly. Tori released her first album, Unbreakable Smile, in 2015, which went gold. She also won two Grammys in 2019 for Best Gospel Performance and Best Gospel Album and voiced the character Meena in Sing.

American Idol Season 22 premieres tonight (Feb. 18) at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. New episodes will drop every Sunday.

You can find the source of this story’s featured images here and here.

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