Here's what the Platinum Ticket means on American Idol and why it's helpful

The special ticket gives the recipient an advantage during Hollywood Week.
(Disney/Art Streiber)
(Disney/Art Streiber) /

The very first episode of American Idol season 22 premiered on Feb. 18, 2024, and the first round of auditions has already seen a contestant receive a Platinum Ticket! This was introduced to the show a couple of years ago on season 20 of the competition series. So what is it?

A Platinum Ticket allows the singer who received it to skip the first round of Hollywood Week, which means they are safe that first week there. A Platinum Ticket holder also gets to choose who they're paired with in the second round of Hollywood Week with the duet challenge. That's why it's an advantage to have. The first go round they get to just sit and observe, and have the chance to make a strategic move in the second round. Platinum Tickets are only given to a total of three contestants each season.

The first year this was introduced in season 20, the special tickets were given out to HunterGirl, Jay, and Kenedi Anderson. As many of you might remember, HunterGirl came in second place to winner Noah Thompson, so she definitely made it far in the competition! Jay also did a pretty good job, making it into the Top 7 before heading home. For Anderson, she chose to withdraw in the Top 24 due to personal reasons.

Last year on American Idol season 21, aka Iam Tongi's season, the Platinum Tickets were given to Kaylin Hedges, Elijah McCormick, and Cam Amen. This trio didn't make it as far compared to the season 20 recipients. Hedges and Amen were sent home following their Showstopper performances, while McCormick made it into the Top 26, but not the Top 20.

The first Platinum Ticket recipient of American Idol season 22 is 28-year-old Odell Bunton Jr. He sang "Bring It On Home to Me" by Sam Cooke, and wowed the judges! Initially, the trio just gave the Austin, Texas native the regular golden ticket to go to Hollywood. However when he headed home and was on-air doing an interview with a local Dallas, Texas station, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan surprised him with the Platinum Ticket! I'll definitely be cheering him on. He deserves it! Do you think he could win it all?

American Idol season 22 airs new episodes Sunday nights on ABC. Episodes are also available to stream on Hulu.

Next. A full list of American Idol winners: Where are they now?. A full list of American Idol winners: Where are they now?. dark