It’s been a long, hard hiatus since Candice Glover was crowned the winner of American Idol Season 12. Thankfully, our favorite music competition returned tonight (January 15), and we met a whole new crop of hopefuls looking to become the country’s next big superstar!

Kicking off the latest tour of the United States, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and new judge Harry Connick Jr. headed for Austin, Texas and Boston, Massachusetts. (Of course, Ryan Seacrest was also there to provide much-needed commentary.)

It’s in Boston where the judges meet Sam Woolf, a 17-year-old who easily falls into the “white guy with a guitar” category. After a bit of backstory — we see Sam sitting in a coffee shop with his grandparents — we transition into the audition room. Sam delivers a beautiful and emotional rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House,” which wows the judges despite his shyness.

“Good Lord, your pitch is incredible,” compliments Keith. “I really like your voice.”

“When you first came in, it was like ‘Oh, I’m a little bit scared,” says J.Lo. “But then all of a sudden it opened up like a flower. It was really beautiful.”

Though Harry makes a joke about Sam’s treble clef tattoo, he can’t deny that the guy is good. “The entire package is [so good!] I’m gonna say no to the tattoo, but yes to you!”



What do you think of Sam’s performance? Will he make it to the Top 31? Read our spoilers here!