American Idol

Taylor Fagins, Nicolina Bozzo shine on American Idol


American Idol introduced us to the first 10 Hollywood bound singers for Season 20 Sunday night.

Here are my four favorites.

1. Taylor Fagins, 26, New York: I love that Idol allows contestants to showcase original songs, and Taylor showed up with the heart-touching, self-penned “We Need More.” It’s a song he said he wrote in his bedroom, three days after George Floyd’s death and it reflects on the black experience in America. It’s a song that won first place in the American Songwriter competition in 2020. And it’s available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. Idol is fond of creating moments on the show. No creating needed this time around. The song did it all. Taylor, a graduate of the University of California Irvine, breezed to Hollywood via a unanimous vote.

2. Nicolina Bozzo, 18, Toronto: She’s a self-described theater kid who lists “Waitress” as one of her favorite shows. So it was no surprise that she auditioned with “She Used to Be Mine.” What was pleasantly surprising was the result. Combining a lovely tone, ample vocal firepower and tons of emotion, Nicolina delivered Idol’s best vocal of the night. Lionel Richie called it a star performance. And he was right. Nicolina also has music out. Head here to learn more.

3. HunterGirl, 23, Winchester, Tenn.: Guess what? She’s a country singer. Never would have know it from that stage name, right? She auditioned with Rascal Flatts’ “There Would be a Riot.” Luke Bryan called HunterGirl his favorite female country voice in five years of doing the show. And a new age Miranda Lambert. And Top 10 material. And I have a feeling we haven’t heard her best. Luke suggested a minor key change, and she sounded even better the second time around. And, yep, there’s HunterGirl music you can listen to now. Head here to learn more.

4. Cole Hallman, 22, Manasquan, N.J.: One of my favorite moments from Sunday’s show was when Cole sang “Can’t Always Get What You Want” with his younger sister, who he also described as his biggest fan. But before that, he showed off a unique singer-songwriter voice with his cover of “Lodi” by Creedance Clearwater Revival. Cole entered the audition room fearful he wasn’t prepared enough because he’s only been singing for about five years. The judges put those fears to rest with well-deserved praise for his performance.

We also met these Hollywood bound singers. And if there’s a link attached to the name, that means you can follow it to find out more.

Noah Thompson, 19, from Louisa, Ken.

Normandi, 29, from Baltimore, Md.

Tyler Allen, 24, from Mobile, Ala.

Danielle Finn, 17, from Los Angeles

Camryn Champlin, 16, Lumberton, N.J.

Delaney Renee, 18, Berkley, Mass.

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