American Idol Recap: Biggest star ever?

Watch American Idol Sunday nights at 8/7c on ABC and stream next day on Hulu

ByBob Monek OTRC logo
Monday, March 7, 2022
Delco native with uniquely deep voice auditions for American Idol
Keep your eyes open for 20-year-old Luke Taylor, a singer and songwriter from Thornton.

LOS ANGELES -- Week 2 of auditions on American Idol from Nashville, Austin, and Los Angeles featured one contestant who left Katy Perry speechless and Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie in awe.


Hailing from Virginia, Kenedi Anderson auditioned in Los Angeles. She's 17 and at first, seems like any other contestant with a compelling back story.

And then she starts playing the piano and singing and wowing the judges!

"What are the name of your fans?" Perry asked after the performance.

"I don't have any," Kenedi responded, but Katy declares herself a 'Keni.'

Luke Bryan says she "may be the biggest star we've ever seen."

Miss America 2016 opened the show and even brought her crown! After becoming Miss America, Betty Maxwell pursued a country music career in Nashville, and that's where she auditioned.

Betty has a huge following on TikTok where she not only sings but does impressions. She shared a few examples on the show before her audition.

She performed "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson.

Leah Marlene, a Toronto native who moved to Normal, Illinois at a young age. She is definitely NOT normal - "stupid and goofy" as she says - but also far from ordinary.

According to her bio, she grew up in a house full of music. Her dad is a songwriter and lead guitarist with the Canadian ban, Honeymoon Suite. Leah has been performing since the age of 10 and spent 2 years in Nashville studying music at Belmont University.

The 20-year-old sang 2 songs for the judges, including One Direction's "Steal My Girl," and a song she penned.

Mike Parker of Virginia comes from a musical family. He shared before the audition that is mom recently became sick and it's weighing on him. The 27-year-old carpenter sang "Strawberry Wine" hoping for his ticket to Hollywood.

He also got a hug and some advice from Lionel Richie.

"Simplicity is key. You have all the goods to make it," he said.

Kelsie Dolin lost her grandma last September and dedicated her audition to her memory. Kelsie said she wanted to do her proud. The 18-year-old from West Virginia opened with "Piece by Piece" by Kelly Clarkson and moved Lionel Richie to tears with her second song, "When We Were Young" by Adele.

Luke Taylor has a huge TikTok following (nearly 2 million!) and a remarkably deep movie trailer voice.

The 20-year-old Liberty University student sang "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash for his audition.

Aaron Westberry is a produce stocker from South Carolina who underwhelms the judges with his energy but impressed with his performance of Sam Hunt's "2016."

"I've got to ask you a very serious question," Lionel Richie said. "Do you like working in the produce department? Do you just have a passion for that produce?"

"No," Westberry laughs.

"So do you really want to be on American Idol?" Richie asked.

Westberry gave a somewhat sheepish "yes" before responding more emphatically "YES!"

"Understand, passion is the key here," Richie advised.

19-year-old Allegra Miles performed an original song hoping to earn that golden ticket to Hollywood.

Christian Guardino is a New Yorker who won the 2014 Grand Prize at The Apollo Theater's "Amateur Night at The Apollo Stars of Tomorrow." At 21, he's hoping to be the next Idol, but also admitted he was more of a wreck than his mom, who made the trip with him to the audition.

When it was over, Christian got the second hug of the night from Lionel Richie!

Episode 2 closed out with Alabama's Lady K, also known as Kezia Istonia, has been making music since the age of 8. Now 25, she already has 4 solo albums to her name, but dreams of becoming the next Idol.

She got the third hug of the night from Lionel and shared her emotional story about growing up as the oldest daughter of a single mom and the tragic death of her brother. She said Katy Perry's 'Wide Awake' for her audition.

Watch the next American Idol on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT | 7 p.m. CT on your local ABC station and the next day on Hulu.

"American Idol" is returning for its landmark 20th season on Sunday, Feb. 27. Watch the newly released trailer here.