‘American Idol’ Recap: Season 21 Premieres with Emotional Auditions

Jill O'Rourke
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ABC/Eric McCandless

American Idol Season 21 premiered on Sunday night, as several talented singers auditioned for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. The episode featured an emotional tribute to Willie Spence, as well as the judges’ first Platinum Ticket of the season.

Kya Monee’ Pays Tribute to Willie Spence on American Idol

Sunday’s premiere featured several emotional auditions, including one from Kya Monee’, who previously competed on Season 19 of the show. During Hollywood Week, Kya performed with runner-up Willie Spence, who passed away last year in a car accident.

Kya performed a heartfelt tribute to her friend, who was supposed to join her at her audition. She sang “I’m Here” from The Color Purple, showing raw emotion that had the judges in tears. Perry said Kya was “so connected to the pain” in her performance. The judges all voted “yes” to giving Kya a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

Sunday’s episode also featured an emotional performance from mom-of-two Lucy Love, who sang two songs for the judges. After the first, Richie encouraged her to take herself more seriously. She went on to sing “A Song for You” by Donny Hathaway, dedicating it to her children. Lucy ended up earning a Golden Ticket.

The judges were also moved by a performance from 18-year-old Iam Tongi, who sang “Monsters” by James Blunt in tribute to his father, who recently passed away. His audition made Richie and Bryan cry and earned him a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.


Tyson Venegas Earns Platinum Ticket

During Sunday’s premiere, 17-year-old Tyson Venegas delivered an amazing performance of “New York State of Mind” while playing the piano. The judges were so impressed, they agreed that Tyson deserved the coveted Platinum Ticket.

This ticket, introduced in Season 20, allows a contestant to skip one day of Hollywood Week. Only one ticket was up for grabs in Las Vegas, where Tyson auditioned. One other Platinum Ticket was given out before the season aired, as fans voted to give one to Elijah McCormick. His audition has yet to air this season.

Another memorable moment from Sunday’s episode came during Megan Danielle’s audition. Some viewers might recognize the singer from Season 18 of The Voice. Megan performed “You Say” by Lauren Daigle, and she received an incredible surprise when Daigle herself showed up to sing with her.

Even the judges were surprised by Daigle’s appearance. The panel was also impressed by Megan’s voice, with Perry joking that she has grits in her throat. Megan earned a Golden Ticket to Hollywood Week.

What did you think of Sunday night’s American Idol Season 21 premiere? What was your favorite audition? Let us know in the comments below.

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