NEW YORK (WABC) -- "American Idol" is back, making its grand return to your television screen with Ryan Seacrest back at the helm.
The big premiere of the rebooted singing competition airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC, and here in New York and in cities across the land, the hopefuls came to perform.
Additionally, buses came to small towns, while others went online to try for the golden ticket that meant they would be going to Hollywood.
"We've seen some great contestants," Seacrest said. "But now it's a matter of who has the talent and some ferociousness in their belly to be competitive, to make it into the next rounds."
Their fates rest with a new panel of three judges: Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.
They bring expertise born from experience.
"It has to be about not skipping the steps, and taking each and every step and learning about every step along the way," Perry said. "So it's a lot more of a process."
Bryan has sold tens of millions of singles and albums, but he insists that auditioning these contestants has made him a better artist.
"A lot of these kids coming in, they make me want to go back and work harder," he said. "Because they're so talented."
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Preview: 'American Idol' premieres Sunday on ABC