Local contestants ready to shine on 'American Idol' this coming weekend

Sandy Kenyon Image
Friday, February 23, 2024
Local contestants get chance to shine on 'American Idol'
Sandy Kenyon has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- One contestant named Meggie Iyer from Luke Bryan's hometown got him and the other judges out of their seats on the season premiere of "American Idol" last week and another singer, Odell Bunton Jr. got a golden ticket, meaning he skips the first round of eliminations in Hollywood.

Then there's this coming where two locals get the spotlight. Those contestants from our area -- one from New Jersey and the other from Manhattan -- will sing for a chance to go on to the next round.

It's hard to believe, but it's been almost 22 years since the debut of "American Idol" and in the years since, it's become one of the biggest hits in television history.

Not every winner has become a star, but the likes of Jordin Sparks and Carrie Underwood have kept the hopes alive for new contestants like the two from the area.

"I've always wanted to sing and perform like before I even knew what performing was," said contestant Nya.

"I started singing like since before I could speak," added other contestant, Hailey Mia.

Mia auditioned in Katy Perry's hometown of Santa Barbara, California, and sang one of her hit songs.

"I have a watch party on Sunday with all of my family because they're so supportive, and I'm super excited," she said.

Mia's family isn't in the business of music but her folks do love listening to it.

She grew up watching "American Idol" like many other contestants, so meeting the judges for the first time cab be intimidating.

Katie, Luke, and Lionel Richie go out of their way to make contestants feel comfortable.

"They're so nice, so kind, and it's like you don't expect that," said Nya. "You expect some people to be, you know be jaded with like being a celebrity and just like not really care about other people, but they care. They care so bad. They want us to succeed. They want us to be stars."

Nya has appeared on Broadway and now hopes for a solo career.

"I'm excited to be on the show," she acknowledged. "Like, I feel like I'm already winning just being on it."

Ryan Seacrest was on television before "Idol," but his skill as a host helped put his career into the stratosphere. It could not happen to a better guy. As rich and successful as he has become, Seacrest remains the same down-to-earth guy.

RELATED | Brooklyn's own Ajii performs for 'American Idol' judges in season 22 premiere

Aiji traveled to Los Angeles to audition for Luke Bryant, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie.