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Warning! The following contains spoilers for American Idol's Season 18 Episode 2. Read at your own risk!
American Idol Season 18 is well underway, and the ABC series is already showcasing the kind of talent that viewers will want to see going very far in this competition. In fact, Katy Perry made a bold proclamation in the latest episode with her belief that the judges have found Season 18's answer for last year's fan-fave Alejandro Aranda in 21-year-old contestant Julia Gargano. Did she live up to the hype?
The judges certainly thought so, as Julia Gargano passed her audition with flying colors by singing an original song she wrote. Take a listen to "Growing Pains," and watch the always over-the-top Katy Perry rise from her chair to hug Gargana, whom Perry believes will be a top competitor in Season 18.
To be compared to Alejandro Aranda is a big deal for an American Idol hopeful, with the Season 17 runner-up taking the competition and fandom by storm in a way that few competitors had before. Aranda breezed through episode after episode, mostly performing his own original songs, and at times seemed certain to win the whole shebang. He's currently touring the world with his music under the stage name ScaryPoolParty, and so far appears to have a bright career ahead of him.
Of course, Alejandro Aranda didn't win American Idol in Season 17, just in case that wasn't entirely clear. That accolade went to Laine Hardy, the country singer who may have had an advantage with the audience vote due to being a returning competitor from the prior season. Hardy won with a strong country voice and a lot of charm, though the argument was made that Aranda deserved to win as more of an original talent.
In the case of Julia Gargano, there will be two interesting things to watch from her during this season of American Idol. The first will be to see if she can continue to rise high enough to win through not just her voice, but also her original music and her playing ability. While there's something to be said for overall talent, original songwriters are sometimes at a disadvantage to competitors who repeatedly belt out the tried and true classics that voters know and love. Sometimes, what's familiar is what wins out.
The second thing worth watching will be to see, if Julia Gargano goes the distance, whether or not winning the revamped American Idol is actually necessary to launch the careers of singer-songwriters that appear on the show. Chris Daughtry and a few others managed to have successful careers despite not winning the classic run of the series on Fox, and Alejandro Aranda is off to a promising start after his run on the ABC revival. Will Julia Gargano be the contestant that drives home the idea that simply appearing and doing well on Idol is enough to make someone a star?
American Idol auditions will continue on ABC on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET. CinemaBlend is the place to be for all the latest news happening in the world of television and movies, so be sure to stick with us!