The 20th season of “American Idol” has concluded its audition phase, and aspiring superstars across the country are now headed to the Hollywood round, which begins March 28.

Here’s a look at some of the season’s best singers — including the three contestants who earned the show’s new platinum ticket.

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Note: The Hollywood round of “American Idol” begins March 28. The episode airs at 7 p.m. MT.


What is the ‘American Idol’ platinum ticket? 

This season, “American Idol” judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan gave out three platinum tickets during the audition round. The special ticket not only advances a singer to the Hollywood round, but also allows them to skip the first part of that round, avoiding a part of the elimination process.

  • “Some people walk out and they’re stars, they have all the boxes ticked: stage presence, delivery, their sound, their style,” Richie said, according to The Wrap. “They have it all there so that when they open their mouths you know exactly who they are as artists. It just rings that bell. And when that happens you just give them the platinum ticket as fast as you can.”

Who received an ‘American Idol’ platinum ticket? 

Jay Copeland

Jay Copeland, a 23-year-old singer from Maryland, was in graduate school for acting when he was given an ultimatum to choose between that career path and his other passion: music. During his audition, Copeland told “Idol” judges he decided to drop out and take a chance on the competition show.

For his audition, Copeland chose to perform the Stevie Wonder classic “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” The judges had nothing but praise for the singer after his energetic rendition.

  • “We need you,” Perry said.
  • “Your talent is off the chain,” Richie added. “It’s so natural. ... We needed this. We’ve been waiting for you to walk through that door. I’m so happy you showed up.”

After calling him the “perfect candidate” for the show, the “Idol” judges gave Copeland the third and final platinum ticket.

Kenedi Anderson

Another platinum ticket went to 17-year-old singer Kenedi Anderson during the episode that aired on March 6. 

Anderson, who is from Virginia and is the second oldest in a family of six children, won the judges over with her rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” The judges had nothing but praise for Anderson as she stood up from the piano and faced them to receive her feedback.

  • “My head is spinning,” Bryan said, later adding that he believed Anderson might be the “biggest star” the judges had ever seen on the show. “No doubt, top 10.” 
  • “I don’t know how you haven’t been recruited yet,” Perry added. 
  • “You’ve answered our prayers,” concluded Richie, who said the young singer could be the next best thing in the music industry. 
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HunterGirl

The first platinum ticket went to country singer Hunter Wolkonowski, who goes by the stage name HunterGirl, during the season premiere on Feb. 27. 

The 23-year-old singer from Winchester, Tennessee, is a music therapist who works with veterans by listening to their experiences and transforming them into songs, she said during her audition.

When HunterGirl finished performing the Rascal Flatts song “Riot” for the judges, Bryan stood up in excitement and ran a lap around the audition room, proclaiming that the country singer was top 10 material.

  • “That is my favorite female country voice I’ve heard in 5 years,” Bryan said.

Following the audition, Bryan invited HunterGirl to perform at his bar in Nashville, where the “Idol” judges showed up and surprised the singer by granting her the show’s inaugural platinum ticket, Country Now reported. 


Other ‘American Idol’ highlights

Other “American Idol” auditions that have generated a lot of attention so far this season include:

Leah Marlene

Cole Hallman

Kelsie Dolin

Noah Thompson

Lady K

Taylor Fagins

Delaney Renee

Nicolina Bozzo

Cadence Baker

Yoli Mayor

Elli Rowe

Tristen Gressett