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If you’re an American Idol fan wondering which contestants got cut in the Hawaii rounds, you’ve come to the right place. This season of Idol has seen no shortage of talent, but the judges could only select a handful to move on to the next round in Hollywood.

If you don’t have time to read the full breakdown, here’s the quick answer: Contestants Michael Williams, Cole Hallman, Lucy Love and Makayla Phillips were eliminated in Hawaii this season.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at who made it through the Hawaii auditions and detail the journeys of Williams, Hallman, Love and Phillips on American Idol before their elimination.

Recapping the Hawaii Auditions on American Idol 2023

The Hawaii Auditions Were a First for Idol

For the first time in its 20-season run, American Idol held auditions in paradise, bringing the search for America’s next singing sensation to Oahu, Hawaii.

The island provided a picturesque backdrop as hopefuls lined up for their shot at Idol glory. Against golden beaches and blue waters, the auditions showcased Hawaiian talent alongside singers who traveled from the mainland U.S.

While Hawaii has produced stars like Bruno Mars and Jake Shimabukuro, an Idol winner from the islands would be groundbreaking. Could this year make history?

Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie Scouted Talent Across Oahu

Roving auditions took the Idol crew across Oahu as they sought standout vocalists. Epic scenic spots hosted the tryouts, from beaches to botanical gardens.

The show’s iconic judges – pop diva Katy Perry, country crooner Luke Bryan, and legendary soul singer Lionel Richie – took in Hawaii’s vibes while assessing singers. Their table sat waterside or mountainside, backdrop changing with each audition.

But their standards stayed sky-high as they listened for the X factor.

Standout Performers Who Advanced from Hawaii

The Hawaii round showcased much promising talent. Several vocalists earned golden tickets to Hollywood Week. Among the standouts:

  • Megan Danielle, a 17-year-old songwriter from Douglasville, GA, who currently lives in Honolulu. Her original song “Healing” impressed with its catchy melody and uplifting message.
  • Cormac Kelly, a 23-year-old Irish tenor from Kailua-Kona, HI. His operatic take on “Nessun Dorma” wowed all three judges.
  • Jordan Chase, an 18-year-old from Nashville, TN. Now living on Oahu, he sang an acoustic Ed Sheeran cover that highlighted his smooth tone.

Other Hawaii ticket-winners included beatboxer Makayla Phillips and singer-songwriter Katy Perry (yes, same name as the judge!). After emotionally trying out seven times before, Perry finally advanced, proving dreams can come true with perseverance.

Four Talented Singers Sent Home After Hawaii Round

While euphoric golden ticket moments created feel-good TV, Hawaii also saw its share of tearful cuts. Four gifted vocalists saw their Idol hopes end, at least this season.

  • Alyssa “Alyjoy” Joy, 23, from Kapolei, HI. Despite lovely runs on an Alicia Keys cover, the judges questioned if she was ready for the competition.
  • Drew, 26, North Shore, Oahu resident. His original song highlighted a soulful voice, but fell short of the final Hawaii ticket.
  • Joshua Spain, 23, who traveled from Florida. Bryan said his tone “wasn’t special enough” to advance from a deep talent pool.
  • Lauren, an 18-year-old Pacific Islander who lives on Oahu. Sharing her culture through song didn’t quite convince the judges this year.

The four left in tears but with encouragement to keep chasing their dreams. And with Idol’s Hawaii debut being a ratings smash, could auditions return to the island next year?

Get to Know the Four Hawaii Eliminations

Michael Williams Showcased Guitar Skills But Didn’t Advance

23-year-old Michael Williams from Wahiawa, Hawaii impressed the judges during his audition with his soulful singing voice and exceptional guitar playing skills. He performed an emotional rendition of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars that highlighted his smooth vocals.

However, the judges decided not to send Michael to Hollywood for the next round of competition, eliminating a standout Hawaiian contestant early on.

Cole Hallman Delivered a Soulful Audition Song

Cole Hallman, a 26-year-old contestant from Honolulu, sang “Use Me” by Bill Withers during his audition. His soulful performance showcased his smooth R&B tone and vocal control. While Cole seemed to impress the judges at first, he unfortunately did not receive a ticket to advance to the Hollywood round in Los Angeles.

Lucy Love Impressed With an Alicia Keys Cover

Lucy Love, a 20-year-old singer from Hawaii, performed an excellent cover of Alicia Keys’ smash hit “If I Ain’t Got You” for her audition. Her emotional and soulful rendition highlighted her wide vocal range and adept control. She had the judges dancing along during her performance.

While Lucy seemed to be a promising contestant, in the end the judges decided not to send her to Hollywood for the next round.

Makayla Phillips Sang Duet with Katy Perry in 2018

17-year-old Makayla Phillips from Wailuku, Maui first auditioned for American Idol during Season 16 in 2018. At that time, she impressed the judges, including Katy Perry, with her rendition of “Who’s Lovin’ You” by the Jackson 5. Katy Perry even sang a spontaneous duet of “Firework” with Makayla.

However, Makayla was unfortunately eliminated during Hollywood week that season. Makayla returned to audition again in Hawaii this year for Season 20, but did not advance to the next round.

Looking Ahead: Who Else Was Cut and the Finalists Bound for Hollywood

More Early Exits After the Hawaii Auditions

The Hawaii round of American Idol 2023 auditions brought plenty of talent but also some tough cuts before the contestants head to Hollywood Week. Simon Fuller’s hit reality singing competition said goodbye to several promising vocalists who couldn’t quite clinch a golden ticket.

22-year-old Hawaii local Makayla Phillips earned high praise from judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie for her stunning cover of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” However, the judges ultimately felt Makayla needed more time to develop her artistry.

Teen singer Skylie Thompson also earned a no despite her soulful take on Aaliyah’s “One in a Million.”

Other early Hawaii exits included guitar teacher Kalia Deldebbio, indie singer Cameron Whitcomb, and beatboxing teacher Kamaoli Kuwada. Though disappointed, many contestants felt grateful for the opportunity and constructive feedback from the judges.

Previewing the Standout Talents Headed to Hollywood Week

While Hawaii saw some talent heading home early, the Aloha State auditions still yielded several standout vocalists now bound for Hollywood Week. 17-year-old Leah Marlene brought folksy charm and unique songwriting perspective that wowed Katy Perry.

Perry even hailed Marlene as “quintessential American Idol” material thanks to her authentic artistry.Tyson Venegas, a 21-year-old server from Arizona, earned a ticket with his smooth R&B vocals. 16-year-old Scarlet secured her spot with a mature jazz performance that defied her young age. Rounding out the standouts was 19-year-old nursing student Megan Danielle, whose gospel-inflected vocals closed the Hawaii auditions on a high note.

In all, over 20 contestants from Hawaii advanced to Hollywood Week out of less than 100 auditioning. That over 20% success rate suggests Hawaii brought stronger early talent compared to prior locations. Viewers will see if that talent holds up when Hollywood Week kicks off March 27.

Last season, nearly half the contestants were cut in that intense round alone. But the remaining standouts will still have incredible potential for stardom.


The Hawaii auditions marked an exciting first for American Idol, showcasing strong talent across Oahu. While Williams, Hallman, Love and Phillips won’t be moving forward this season, viewers got a glimpse of their artistry during this iconic Idol location shoot.

As Hollywood Week kicks off, the competition is heating up. The judges made some tough calls, but the talents that remain are undoubtedly deserving of their golden tickets. We’ll have to stay tuned in the coming weeks to see who can clinch the American Idol 2023 crown!

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