Strong Return for 'American Idol' - Despite Fox's Counterprogramming

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The Nielsen company said that the 10.34 million who watched the return of American Idol represented ABC's biggest Sunday night audience with regular series programming since 2012.

Season two finalist and CT resident Kimberley Locke gives us a whole recap. This time, we have Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan as judges.

In the March 11 premiere, viewers witnessed talent from all over auditioning in Los Angeles, New York City, Savannah, and New Orleans.

"American Idol" had a solid return to network television Sunday night after a almost two-year hiatus. She performed "Young, Dumb and Broke" by Khalid, and Lionel loved the quality of her voice. (What's up with the continuity, Idol?) We learn that he has a somewhat unusually high-pitched speaking voice, but a much deeper singing voice.

The 19-year-old shared a special moment with judge Katy Perry after his confession that he had never been kissed. Luckily, her somewhat over-the-top rendition of Ariana Grande's "Dangerous Woman" was enough to convince the judges to save her from a life of drudgery and send her to Hollywood. After he sang Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely", Lionel hugged him, Katy cried, and all three judges told him he was going to Hollywood.

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For Catie Turner, what really stood out to me was how intriguing of a songwriter she is.

Ron, a 21-year-old entrepreneur originally from Congo who now resides in Plano, TX, sang "Let It Go" by James Bay. During Benjamin's Nashville audition, he admits that he's never kissed a girl before. None of the judges know what to say, and after a few painful moments, Sardor is thankfully shown the door. Perry said his presentation felt a bit "rushed", and added "maybe that's because I sped up your BPM".

"You're so hot", Perry, 33, told the singer. The judges are blown away and he gets his golden ticket.

All of this said, neither Benjamin or Nico hold a candle to Sardor Milano, 26, who somehow won The X Factor in Russian Federation a few years ago. Just don't forget to cancel your trial if you don't want to get charged $20. I think you're really sweet, but truthfully, there are just some people that are outsinging you right now, and so I don't think it'd be fair to put you in that kind of competition.