Katy Perry flew into a comic rage when singer Saveria who she liked failed to go through during the season 18 premiere Sunday of American Idol on ABC.
The 35-year-old singer shoved drinks off the judges’ table, punched a hole in a show sign, and ran barefoot down a hallway after the woman’s audition.
Saveria, 22, a former child star from London, Ontario, had been hoping to revive her career on the show by performing an original song called Tell Me This Is Real.
Flipped out: Katy Perry flew into a comic rage during the season 18 premiere Sunday of American Idol after singer Savria who she favored failed to advance
‘You’re a great singer,’ Katy told her afterward. ‘You are a gymnast singer. You can do cartwheels and backflips and do it all. You have so much potential.’
Her fellow judge, Lionel Richie, 70, felt Saveria’s voice needed work, and judge Luke Bryan, 43, said, ‘My gut tells me it’s a no.’
Hearing that, Katy stood up and yelled, ‘Y’all are crazy!’ then flipped the two drinks in front of her off the table, roaring like Godzilla.
Katy told Luke that she believed in Saveria ‘100 percent,’ and threatened ‘to take my earrings off,’ but her fellow judges held firm: They were not sending Saveria to Hollywood.
Original song: Saveria, 22, a former child star from London, Ontario, had been hoping to revive her career on the show by performing an original song called Tell Me This Is Real
Much potential: Katy told Saveria that she had so much potential
Earrings off: Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan did not share Katy’s enthusiasm and she threatened to take off her earrings
Cups away: Katy knocked off Lipton cups on the table in protest
Katy bolted off screaming then, only returning to punch a hole in an American Idol sign.
‘Run,’ Lionel told Saveria. ‘Save yourself.’
Katy ran barefoot down the studio’s hallway, grunting.
Taking off: The pop star bolted off screaming after Lionel and Luke stood by their votes
Sign smash: Katy took out her frustration on an American Idol sign
Nice hit: The Teenage Dream singer knocked the sign out
Tough spot: Saveria watched as Katy was unable to sway Lionel and Luke to change their votes
‘They need to get their hearing checked,’ she said. ‘I think it’s a horrible mistake.’
The season 18 contestants had already shown themselves to be of a high caliber, which the judges thought could be attributed to last year’s unorthodox winner, Alejandro Aranda, 25.
As the show opened, Alejandro was shown playing big gigs with his band, Scary Pool Party.
Horrible mistake: Katy ran down a hallway away from her fellow judges and called their decision a ‘horrible mistake’
‘Alejandro has opened a whole new level of talent coming in and trying out,’ Luke said.
It seemed like every singer on Sunday’s show played an instrument, like he did.
In Savannah, Georgia, where the season began, many of them also brought original songs, but the first contestant to audition, Camryn Leigh Smith, 16, chose Jessie J.’s Big White Room.
Cover song: The first contestant to audition, Camryn Leigh Smith, 16, chose to cover Jessie J.’s Big White Room
Camryn looked eerily like a younger version of Katy, having grown up with church like Katy, and also liked singing secular music, she shared.
‘Dude, when you go to Hollywood, everything is secular,’ Katy cautioned. ‘Gotta hold onto your principles.’
Camryn, a high-school student, reminded Luke so much of Katy that he couldn’t help tapping Katy on the shoulder during the performance.
Teen talent: The 16-year-old singer got a ticket to Hollywood
‘That’s like you, right?’ he interrupted. ‘That reminds me of you.’
When Camryn finished her song, Katy gave her a standing ovation, adding, ‘Thank God for you!’
As Lionel handed Camryn a golden ticket, Katy cracked that ‘another lost angel joins the flock.’
Lost angel: Katy joked that ‘another lost angel joins the flock’ after Camryn advanced
Garbageman Douglas Kiker, 27, of Mobile, Alabama, was up next, charming the judges with his unassuming nature, work-callused hands and lack of performing experience.
Douglas said he was auditioning for his daughter Eliana, two, wanting to show her that ‘if you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t do.’
The judges sent him outside to practice in front of a crowd, and when he returned, he impressed everyone with a cover of Rascal Flatt’s Bless This Broken Road.
Sanitation worker: Douglas Kiker, 27, of Mobile, Alabama, charmed the judges with his unassuming nature, work-callused hands as a garbageman and lack of performing experience
Warming up: Lionel suggested that Douglas warm up before he performed
Katy asked Douglas to show them his range, and he wasn’t sure what that was, but Luke helped him out by playing the song again on piano for him.
His new version earned a standing ovation from the judges, though Douglas confessed he’d had no idea what he’d done.
Lionel was moved by Douglas’ humility and lack of pretension, calling him ‘a hell of a man.’
Nice range: Luke jumped on the piano to help Douglas show his range at Katy’s suggestion and his voice soared with the accompaniment
Douglas hugged the judges as they gave him his golden ticket, embarrassed that he was ‘a little sweaty’ in front of Katy, whom he’d called ‘really pretty.’
He hosted his daughter in his arms, with her holding his golden ticket.
Pre-law student Francisco Martin, 18, from San Francisco, was even more nervous than Douglas when he hit the audition room.
To calm him, Luke and Lionel hugged him and took his pulse, which measured 148 beats per minute.
Super nervous: Pre-law student Francisco Martin, 18, from San Francisco, was so nervous that Luke and Lionel tried to calm him down
Francisco’s cover of Maggie Rogers’ Alaska wowed the judges, but his original song had Luke calling him ‘Top 5’ and holding up a piece of paper that simply read, ‘Winner.’
Hunter Gibson, a 23-year-old rideshare driver and actor who called himself ‘The Comeback,’ couldn’t have been more different.
Full of energy, the Arcadia, California, native declared that show host Ryan Seacrest, 45, was ‘pretty hot,’ and remembered his first Katy show, at which she was booed.
Early frontrunner: Francisco’s cover of Maggie Rogers’ Alaska wowed the judges, but his original song had Luke calling him ‘Top 5’ and holding up a piece of paper that simply read, ‘Winner’
Strong effort: Hunter Gibson, a 23-year-old rideshare driver and actor who called himself ‘The Comeback’, went home without a ticket to Hollywood
His version of The All-American Rejects’ Swing, Swing went on too long, and he went home.
Nick Merico, 23, from Woodland Hills, really was a comeback as he made it to Hollywood in last year’s auditions, but left before Hollywood Week.
‘Some personal things went down, and I had to figure out a lot of things, and really take the last year as a boot camp,’ Nick told the judges. ‘And you guys were so kind to me, and I’m so grateful for a second opportunity.’
Real comeback: Nick Merico, 23, from Woodland Hills, really was a comeback as he made it to Hollywood in last year’s auditions, but left before Hollywood Week
He sat down at the piano to play a pretty version of Lauren Daigle’s You Say, and it was smooth, but Katy worried he thought he was too good for them.
She told him to watch his ego, though both she and Luke wanted to send him through.
Lionel pretended to disagree, telling Nick, ‘I don’t like you… For some weird reason, it’s not sitting well with me. I don’t like your voice… I don’t like your attitude. And I don’t really think you’re gonna make it in Hollywood.’
Inflated ego: The singer strutted onto the stage and appeared to have an ego
Harsh words: Lionel told the singer that he didn’t like his attitude
When Nick told Lionel that his words had made him feel ‘hurt,’ Lionel said it was a good thing, because he’d wanted Nick to understand what it was like when people didn’t adore him.
All of the judges urged him to be more humble, and eventually gave him a ticket to Hollywood.
Dibesh Pokharel, 21, who sang as ‘Arthur Gunn,’ was a Nepalese country music fan living in Wichita, Kansas who intrigued the judges.
Big hug: Nick and Lionel hugged it out after the music legend gave him a life lesson
His cover of Bob Dylan’s Girl From The North Country was okay, but they loved his husky version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain, and sent him through.
The show’s next stop was in Washington, DC, where each of the judges unveiled portraits of themselves looking presidential.
The first audition there went to Alisa Ermolaev, 28, a Moscow-born New Yorker who called herself ‘a hothead’ as she introduced herself in Russian, adding ‘Don’t mess with me’ in a Queens accent.
Intriguing singer: Dibesh Pokharel, 21, who sang as ‘Arthur Gunn,’ was a Nepalese country music fan living in Wichita, Kansas who intrigued the judges.
The actress, who’d recently played Russian Stripper #2 in the movie Hustlers, screeched her way through an original song, Say Goodbye, joined by her ‘musical partner’ Luigi Babe.
She followed it with an underwhelming comedy bit about running into an agent in Hollywood.
‘Alright, Alisa, we don’t want to rain on your parade, but we are definitely going to have to do a little sprinkling,’ Katy said, letting her go.
Fiery performance: Alisa Ermolaev, 28, a Moscow-born New Yorker who called herself ‘a hothead’, auditioned in Washington DC
Nice try: The original song by Alisa and her musical partner Luigi Babe failed to impress
British singer-songwriter Louis Knight, 19, impressed the judges more with his original song Change, about losing his friend Russell to suicide.
Louis, a pizza delivery guy living in Philadelphia, played piano as he sang movingly about his big-hearted pal.
‘We knew he was going through a hard time,’ Louis remembered in a video shot before the show. ‘We didn’t know the extent of the suffering.’
Original song: British singer-songwriter Louis Knight, 19, impressed the judges more with his original song Change, about losing his friend Russell to suicide
Like the song, Louis’ tattoo, which read ‘Small Victories,’ was a tribute to ‘supportive’ Russell.
He hoped the song could affect someone else’s life, saying it was all he could hope for.
‘I think he might be the biggest star we’ve ever had on American Idol,’ Luke considered.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support. Or, to connect with a counselor through the Crisis Text Line, text HOME to 741741.
High praise: Luke called Louis the ‘biggest star we’ve ever had on American Idol’
‘That’s a bold statement, and yes, I kind of agree,’ Katy said. ‘I wouldn’t go so far as to say that you’re the biggest star we’ve seen in three seasons, but I really appreciated your original song.’
‘You know what’s going to be so fun?’ she added. ‘In five years, when you’re a big star and won’t talk to any of us, looking back at this clip.’
She later bet Luke a dinner that Louis would beat out Francisco on the show.
Bold statement: Katy didn’t go as far as Luke with the praise
Meghan Fitton, 23, a fitness instructor from Brooklyn, New Yok City, had already gained a small measure of fame with her podcast for fans of The Bachelor.
The judges thought she might earn more fans after they heard her cover of Allen Stone’s Love Where You’re At, calling her ‘a diamond in the rough.’
To tell her she was going to Hollywood, Katy brought out The Bachelor host Chris Harrison, 51, talking to Meghan live on a video chat.
Fitness trainer: Meghan Fitton, 23, a fitness instructor from Brooklyn, New Yok City, had already gained a small measure of fame with her podcast for fans of The Bachelor
Final rose: The Bachelor fan got her ticket to Hollywood from The Bachelor host Chris Harrison
‘Meghan, will you accept this final rose?’ Chris asked. ‘Oh wait, that’s the wrong show,’ he went on, holding up a golden ticket. ‘Meghan, you’re going to Hollywood.’
Closing out the show was Samantha, a 20-year-old subway singer from New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, who initially offered up another cover of Lauren Daigle’s You Say.
Samantha, who went by the stage name ‘Just Sam,’ lived with her grandmother in Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Projects, and hoped the show could change her life.
Last up: Closing out the show was Samantha, a 20-year-old subway singer from New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, who initially offered up another cover of Lauren Daigle’s You Say
But as she started her audition, she broke down in tears, and the judges flocked to hug her.
‘It feels like a dream,’ she told them, sobbing as Luke tried to reassure her.
Samantha then went back to her mark, and got comfortable by introducing herself like she did on the subway, turning out a stunning version of Andra Day’s Rise Up.
Subway singer: Samantha got comfortable by introducing herself like she did on the subway, turning out a stunning version of Andra Day’s Rise Up
All of the judges were moved, and Lionel was prompted to ask Samantha a question.
‘Samantha, in your whole life, have you ever felt safe?’ he asked.
‘I feel safe when my grandma hugs me,’ Samantha volunteered. ‘It’s just, …I’m not used to people caring without needing or just pretending to care.’
Safe place: Lionel offered Samantha a hug and assured her that she was in a safe place
‘I want you to feel safe,’ Lionel told her, pointing to his fellow judges and himself. ‘Uncle Luke, Auntie Katy, Papa Richie. I want you to understand: We got you. Okay?’
Samantha, crying, asked if the judges would pray with her.
‘Lord, make my life brand-new right here, right now,’ the singer said. ‘With my friends. And my new fam.’
She went through to Hollywood.
American Idol will return next week on ABC.
Prayer session: Samantha, crying, asked if the judges would pray with her