The seventeenth season of American Idol kicked off with the three judges critiquing aspiring singers in Louisville, KY; Coeur d'Alene, ID; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; and Denver, CO.
Eleven hopefuls received Golden Tickets and made it through to the next round, with a handful of artists blowing the panel away -- Walker Burroughs, Tyler Mitchell, Myra Tran, Laci Kaye Booth, and Tiffanne Lemay.
Walker, a 20-year-old college student and resident assistant from Birmingham, AL, kicked off the series with a performance of "Love Like This," by Ben Rector.
Katy said his vocals were "cool, natural, effortless and dope."
"I think you're Top 10 material," Katy told Walker, before Luke suggested some viewers were going to be captivated by him.
Lionel was proud of Walker and excited for him, noting he might be able to "blow the competition away."
Next up was Johanna Jones, a 23-year-old fast food burger chef from Las Vegas, NV, who sang "I'm Not The Only One" by Sam Smith.
Katy said she was scared for Johanna because she needed to quit her job. Lionel called her "the package" given she had control over the song and was able to sell it.
Lionel called Johanna "mesmerizing," and then Luke pointed out she had a "big time opportunity."
Kai The Singer, a 19-year-old factory worker from Kingstree, SC, then sang "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran.
Katy admitted Kai's nervous got the best of her, and so Lionel asked her to take a deep breath and sing something else.
Kai therefore sang "I Got Sunshine" by The Temptations on the piano. Katy noted she has "a beautiful soul" and evolved right before the judges' eyes as she continued to perform with immense emotion.
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Katy acknowledged Kai's voice is authentic, and the hopeful stirred up emotion in all three of the judges.
Luke told Kai she can sing with two chords and "move mountains."
Katy, Luke and Lionel therefore advanced Kai to the next round with tears in their eyes.
Tyler Mitchell, a 26-year-old oil field mechanic from Florien, LA, performed "Whenever You Come Around" by Vince Gill.
"What a special moment," Katy said, before Tyler confessed he hadn't performed much before that day.
Tyler apparently has a fear of forgetting lyrics in front of people, but Katy revealed, "A star is born!"
Lionel insisted Tyler had "struck gold" and woke the judges up. Luke advised Tyler to be himself, smile through the awkward times and America will love him through it all.
Margie Mays, a 25-year-old dog walker from Wilmington, DE, then performed "Shot" by Lawrence.
Margie was incredibly energetic and bubbly, as she laughed and cried and cheered at the same time. She was so thankful for her ability to audition.
Katy told Margie to focus on winning with her voice and letting her heart shine through. Katy said she switched from "totally insane to total pro."
With that being said, Katy and Luke both gave Margie a "yes" and a Golden Ticket -- but Lionel said, "No," so she would realize how serious this competition really is.
Myra Tran, a 19-year-old high school student from Federal Way, WA, was up next and belted out "One Night Only" by Jennifer Hudson.
The judges stood up for Myra and gave her a standing ovation. They couldn't believe her talent and big voice.
Katy told Myra to keep singing because she's really going to connect with people. Lionel said there's no one to compare her to and she has "stepped into a zone" that's all her own.
"Rule your zone, because you are going places!" Lionel told the Vietnamese singer.
Uche, a 24-year-old wedding singer from Sugar Land, TX, sang "Ain't no other man" by CeCe Frey.
Uche's performance was a little scattered, as he moved about and belted out some wild notes. Katy therefore asked Uche to stand still and sing, and then he sang a gospel hymn, which impressed the judges.
Lionel and Luke were torn because they worried about how much coaching he would need, but in the end, they gave Uche a "yes." Lionel asked the artist to channel Prince and some of his other soulful musical influences.
Uche won himself a Golden Ticket to Hollywood thanks to his second, stripped-down performance.
The judges then listened to "Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard, which was performed by Laci Kaye, a 23-year-old college student from Livingston, TX.
"I think your the first voice we've heard that's really a diamond in the rough," Katy said. "I don't know if you believe that about yourself, but you've really got something different sounding than everybody else."
Luke believed Laci is very, very close to becoming a world-class vocalist, and he thought she "slayed" her audition.
Lionel just advised Laci to hone in on her craft and not get psyched out by other talent in the competition.
Nick Rogers, a 17-year-old high school student from Highlands Ranch, CO, sang "Mine" by Bazzi.