American Idol: Contestants to watch and one who left Katy Perry speechless

Stream the American Idol season premiere on Hulu NOW and tune in Sunday at 8/7c for another all-new episode on ABC

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 -- The auditions continue on American Idol from Nashville, Austin, and Los Angeles this Sunday night, and we know at least one contestant leaves Katy Perry speechless!

That contestant is not 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. Leah does, however, impress the judges.

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.

She gets to sing 2 songs for the judges, including One Direction's "Steal My Girl."

Christian Guardino is a New Yorker who made it to the semi-finals of another talent show at age 16. He also won the 2014 Grand Prize at The Apollo Theater's "Amateur Night at The Apollo Stars of Tomorrow."

He's a few years older now. Here's his take on Chris Stapleton's 'Tennessee Whiskey' from 2020.

Isaiah Jayy is an R&B singer-songwriter, dancer born and raised in South Central LA. Isaiah says he started singing at church when he was 7 years old. His grandfather is a lead singer for the gospel group Mighty Cloud of Joy. Isaiah says the journey has not always been smooth, but he's found his voice.

Hailing from Virginia, Kenedi Anderson tries to make a splash at the auditions in Los Angeles, and in at least one promo can be seen waving the coveted Platinum ticket. Does she really get it? We do know from a video on a certain entertainment news site that she leaves Katy speechless with her performance.

You'll have to watch to find out, but she does have a remarkable voice.

Kenedi's cover of Ariana Grande's POV can be seen on TikTok but also check out the song she wrote after turning 17:

I don't think Miss America has ever auditioned for American Idol until now. Betty Cantrell of Warner Robins, Georgia won the Miss America crown in 2016. She won the talent competition singing opera!

She's gotten married since then and now goes by the name Betty Maxwell. She pursued a country music career in Nashville for a few years but has since moved to Florida. Betty also has a huge following on TikTok where she not only sings but does impressions.

Luke Taylor is another contestant with a huge TikTok following (nearly 2 million!). The 20-year-old from Thornton, Delaware County and Liberty University student has a remarkably deep voice. Check out his cover of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire.

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.

Born in Hollywood, Kurtis Bell grew up in Texas and Louisiana where he says local musical influences inspired him to become a performer. He taught himself to play piano at 10 and later taught himself how to play guitar. Kurtis says he likes to bring back the sound of yesterday with a new flair!

Tune in American Idol starting 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.