American Idol’s Luke Bryan Compares New Contestant To Beloved Actor Leslie Jordan
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American Idol’s Luke Bryan Compares New Contestant To Beloved Actor Leslie Jordan


  • American Idol judge Luke Bryan sees Leslie Jordan in contestant Reagan Mills, sparking curiosity.
  • Reagan Mills’ performance impresses judges with soulful vocals, promising an exciting competition ahead.
  • American Idol shifts focus to quality performances over looks, embracing unique voices like Reagan’s.



American Idol season 22 judge Luke Bryan is comparing one of the hopefuls in the audition process to beloved late actor Leslie Jordan, and he’s not wrong about the resemblance. American Idol has taken many forms over the years, and in its current iteration with host Ryan Seacrest and judges Luke, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, the audition process can be intense. With some spectacular performances in the audition phase of the competition, some performers have more memorable qualities than others. Though the audition performances don’t need to impress all three judges, it’s helpful for the performers if they do.

“My mom might spank me if I do”

In a clip from an upcoming episode of American Idol season 22 (via ET Online), one contestant, Reagan Mills, has Luke reminded of the late actor Leslie Jordan before he even begins to sing. When Luke mentions that Reagan reminds him of Leslie, who appeared on shows like Will & Grace in the 2000s, it didn’t seem to surprise the auditioner.

Reagan laughed, but denied Luke’s request to say one of Leslie’s catchphrases from the series that features an expletive. “My mom might spank me if I do,” Reagan shared, with a laugh. Sharing that he is the son of a preacher, Reagan was excited to get to perform.


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Katy Perry Whips Her Hair During Reagan Mills’ Audition

While the majority of Reagan’s audition isn’t shown in the clip, some of his performance is featured at the end. Singing what appears to be a gospel song, Reagan is seated at the piano for the audition. Spurred on by Katy, Reagan’s vocal performance features so much soul that the superstar begins whipping her hair into Reagan’s face as he sings. Dazzling all three of the American Idol judges, Reagan seems like a sure bet to receive a golden ticket to the Hollywood round of the competition. While his sound isn’t mainstream, his voice is too good not to advance.

While Reagan isn’t the stereotypical voice one would expect from the competition, his performance was exciting for the judges. In the past, American Idol focused more on the star quality of the people who auditioned for the series rather than the voice of the performer. While the ability to sing was still a huge deal for the competition, the looks of the contestants and the mainstream quality about them was taken into consideration during the audition process. In its newer era, American Idol has paid attention to the quality of the performance, and foster new singing styles in the competition.

As the American Idol auditions continue, Luke, Katy, and Lionel are going to have to make some difficult decisions about who to bring forward and who to leave behind. While it’s not clear if Reagan will make it to the Hollywood round or further, his performance definitely warrants a second look from the judges. With or without a resemblance to a lost star, Reagan is what American Idol is all about: discovering a star on the rise.

American Idol

airs Sundays at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.

Sources: Entertainment Tonight/YouTube, American Idol/Instagram

American Idol Season 21 Poster

American Idol

American Idol is a reality singing competition that adds to the international “Idol” brand, conceived initially in the U.K. as Pop Idol. Holding massive auditions across the U.S., American Idol invited several contestants to perform in front of a panel of judges that would determine whether or not they’d go on to future rounds for a chance at competing in the fully televised premiere of the show. Contestants are voted off each week by American participation via voting through various mediums, and the winner of the competition would be given a contract with a record label to secure a future as America’s next musical idol. 

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