American Idol judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie advanced 12 artists -- including two of the most powerful, memorable auditions ever -- to Hollywood during Sunday night's two-hour episode on ABC.

The seventeenth season of American Idol continued with the three judges critiquing aspiring singers in Louisville, KY; Coeur d'Alene, ID; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; and Denver, CO.

Twelve hopefuls were shown receiving Golden Tickets and making it through to the next round, with several artists blowing the judging panel away -- Shayy, Alejandro Aranda, and Kason Lester.

Shayy, a 17-year-old high school student from Midlothian, VA, was diagnosed with a tumor in her brain and lost her vision as a result of swelling. She had half of the tumor surgically removed but revealed doctors subsequently said her prognosis is "a question mark."

The judges, however, had no question in their minds the bullied teen was going to advance after she belted out a beautiful rendition of "Rise Up" by Andra Day.

Shayy's audition brought Lionel to tears and he had to hug her once she finished the song.

"You have wrecked me," Lionel cried. "Every once in a while, something comes along like this."

Luke said they cannot teach people to sing like she does and her music "flowed straight from the soul."

Lionel complimented her confidence and spirit and said she reminded everyone just how blessed they are.

Katy cried as well, and both she and Lionel gushed about how they were absolutely "in love" with her and she's so inspiring and sang "like an angel."

Alejandro, a 24-year-old dishwasher and self-taught musician from Pomona, CA, sang an original song called "Out Loud."

The three judges gave him a standing ovation and Lionel predicted having "the greatest" season of American Idol ever. Lionel thought he was "unfrickin' believable" and the judges were blown away by his talent.

Alejandro also showed his skills on the piano and proved he wasn't kidding around.
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"I just feel like I'm in the presence of greatness. I've just never seen somebody do what you just did with the guitar," Luke told him, adding that he was so glad Alejandro came out for the show.

"It totally rocked my world. It was like I was watching my favorite movie and I didn't want it to end."

Katy flat out said, "I think you're the winner. I think you're really special. I think you're an absolute genius."

Lionel was so glad the universe brought Alejandro in front of America, saying there's nothing like him and his humble attitude makes him even more special.

Once Alejandro left the room, the judges continued to gush about how overwhelmingly amazing he was.

"That's the best thing I ever witnessed," Luke told his fellow judges behind closed doors.

Kason, a 28-year-old strawberry farmer from Lebanon, TN, belted out "Holding Her" by Chris Janson on his guitar.

Lionel noted Kason has "a storytelling voice" and he liked the "growl" in his voice.

"I think he's Top 10 of American Idol," Katy said. "But I think you're really nervous. I think you've got a great name, you've got a great sound in your voice, and you've got that country look people eat up."

Luke admitted Kason didn't deliver the guitar convincingly on that song but his voice shined and he could definitely develop into somebody who does well in the competition and in his career.

"You've got to hone in on your key signature sound," Luke suggested.

Kason was therefore sent to Hollywood with three yeses from the judging panel.

Courtney Penry, a 25-year-old bride-to-be from Houston, TX, performed "Parachute" by Chris Stapleton.

Luke was amazed she delivered a lot of "antics" in her song but he didn't want to bury his head in the sand. He admitted, however, it was "a little too much."

Courtney therefore decided to sing a more stripped-down song, "Girl Crush" by Little Big Town.

Courtney had auditioned once before but wasn't ready, and this time, the judges determined she has a bright future and should advance to Hollywood.

Logan Johnson, a 20-year-old golf shop attendant from Boise, ID, sang "Sober" by Demi Lovato.

Luke thought he was "incredible" and would be able to execute good songs in an incredible way. Luke thought girls were going to "lose their minds" when listening to him and he resembled Justin Timberlake.

Lionel complimented Logan on being able to change the mood in the room, and Katy added he has a beautiful voice but she'd like to see him discover an "additional gear."

Katy ultimately praised the beauty and sweetness in Logan's voice -- saying it's rare as well as an advantage -- and then the three judges agreed to give him a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

Eddie Island, a 25-year-old rideshare driver from Nashville, TN, sang an original song for the judges called "Stay Okay."

Katy called Eddie "a star," and Luke admitted the artist has to be in their lives. Lionel noted his passion was contagious and he'd like to keep him around for awhile.

"It's been a pleasure to be in your presence, in your aura, in your signature sense... I am a part of the Eddie Island fan club," Katy told him. "I think you're great."

All three judges agreed Eddie should go to Hollywood, and so he earned himself a Golden Ticket.

Juan Pablo, a 26-year-old rideshare driver from Hollywood, CA, performed a song in Spanish called "Besame Mucho" by Andrea Bocelli for the judges, and Katy had to fan herself for most of the song.

Katy thought Juan Pablo sang with a lot of drama, and she said she believed him when he sang.

Lionel said his vocals were "so great" and he had been seduced. Lionel advised him to continue standing still and bringing everybody into him.

Lionel and Katy agreed Juan Pablo has something that can't be taught, that he's "authentic" and "sensitive," but Luke wasn't feeling it. However, Juan Pablo received a Golden Ticket anyways.

Landen Knowlton, a 23-year-old Army sergeant from Tupelo, MS, performed "Washed by the Water" by NeedToBreathe for his audition.

Lionel figured there was more for him to show, but Katy liked Landen's soft, subtle notes.

Luke agreed his vocals weren't perfect from start to finish but there's a natural and real sound to his voice fans will probably appreciate. He was sent to Hollywood as a result.

Ethan Payne, a 15-year-old student from Macon, GA, sang "Do I" by Luke Bryan, and Luke accompanied him on the guitar.

Lionel called Ethan "an inspiration" and Katy loved his confidence and "spark of talent." Luke was also inspired the teen is attacking life despite having cystic fibrosis, and so he advanced.

Jake Durkin, a 25-year-old musician from Cohasset, MA; Cory Young, a 21-year-old ukulele teacher from Temecula, CA; and Betsy Jo, a 21-year-old college student from Miami, FL, also got sent through to Hollywood Week.

In addition, an adorable seven year old named Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, who is a viral singing sensation, playfully auditioned for American Idol by singing the "Star Spangled Banner."

Although she's too young to actually compete on the reality competition series, Katy, Luke and Lionel gave her a Golden Ticket for the year 2027.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.