American Idol Recap: Comebacks and Superstar performances

Watch American Idol Monday night at 8/7c on ABC and stream next day on Hulu
LOS ANGELES -- 'American Idol' audition episodes are coming to an end but not without some remarkable comeback stories and memorable performances.

The audition stage moved to Sunset Strip in Los Angeles for episode 4 opening with a jam featuring Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue.



Zareh, a Miami native who has moved to Los Angeles, had the first audition of the night. "Fashion is her passion," she says since she's working as a stylist, but this 21-year-old also has musical dreams.

Her mom is Idol alum Nadia Turner, who made it to the top 8 during season 4 in 2005. She thinks she's going for a spa day with Zareh until she finds herself standing next to Ryan Seacrest!



Thomas Patrick Moran has Irish roots thanks to his mom and had the judges step dancing before his audition.

He brought a lot of energy to the stage having the time of his life and being a bit of a clown, but then dialed it down a bit and Thomas delivered a low-key performance of 'River.'



Sam Moss auditioned in Austin but came up short. Katy Perry gave her a yes, but not Lionel Richie nor Luke Bryan. Determined, the 25-year-old piano teacher from Iowa traveled to Los Angeles to try again.

She has a soaring voice and performed an original song, but could she sway Luke and Lionel the second time around?

All three judges gave her a standing ovation.



Fritz Hager is a security officer in Tyler, Texas who really wants to be singing on stage. Now 21, Fritz says another Idol contestant Phillip Phillips inspired him to play guitar. Fritz got some advice from the 2012 winner before taking the stage for his audition.

He starts off soft but gains momentum performing the chorus of "Before You Go" but would it be enough to earn a spot in Hollywood? It's up to Lionel to break the tie.



Kevin Gullage is a 23-year-old musician from Louisiana talked about being inspired by 2004 contestant William Hung, who had no training when he auditioned singing. And just like his inspiration, Kevin gave his all for a ticket to Hollywood with one of the most powerful performances of the auditions.



The second comeback story of the night featured Jacob Moran from East Lansing, Michigan. He made it to Hollywood in Season 17 of Idol but got knocked out early. He's a registered nurse now and lost 60 pounds since that audition.

Jacob sang 'Rise' by Katy Perry.

"I really think you chose the right song, and you did it justice," Katy said.



Haley Slaton was pregnant when she auditioned for Idol. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native has been singing since she was a young girl in church with dreams of becoming an 'American
She had trouble hitting some of the notes on her first song, "Climb" by Miley Cyrus. Haley had a second chance to impress the judges with her rendition of Adele's "One and Only."



Elli Rowe, 19, is a college student from Nashville, Tennessee. We didn't learn much about her journey but she can sing!

"You have a magical substance, my dear," Lionel Richie said.



Daniel Marshall Griffith is a former Virginia Tech football player who is trying to make his mark in country music. He started performing in front of people and posting videos on TikTok only a few months ago.

"You have that storytelling thing," Lionel Richie said after his audition.



This round of auditions wrapped up with Douglas Mills. He's a standout senior from Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas.

The 18-year-old won the VIP affiliate ticket from ABC Houston after coming highly recommended by his music teachers because of his talent, dedication, and determination after persevering through multiple surgeries throughout high school.

Mills says music has helped him get through many adversities, including being bullied -
kids called him "Gorilla" and "King Kong."

He picked "Strange Fruit" for his performance especially for the Black community, "because we've gone through so much pain over the past few centuries. It's time to bring awareness to it."

He mesmerized the judges with his performance, Katy Perry calling him "a superstar."

"You're off the charts," Richie said.



Watch the next American Idol on Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT | 7 p.m. CT on your local ABC station and the next day on Hulu.
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"American Idol" is returning for its landmark 20th season on Sunday, Feb. 27. Watch the newly released trailer here.

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