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American Idol is back! Last night’s first episode felt like a triumphant return hosted by Ryan Seacrest with judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. It aired with its usual dose of crazy contestants, disappointed hopefuls and rising stars. There was even a first kiss. However, we were excited to see two contestants in particular, Ron Bultongez and Harper Grace, both from Collin County. With 13 contestants from DFW alone, Texas is certainly packing some starpower this year.
Ron and Harper both had their time in the spotlight last night, appearing second and third respectively; they quickly became two of the most interesting contestants to watch, among Dennis Lorenzo, Noah Davis and Alyssa Raghu.
We’re very familiar with Ron, a singer/songwriter and a refugee from the Congo. He showed up with his guitar, his young son and his inspiring story–get the full story in our December 2018 issue–and auditioned with James Bay’s “Let it Go.” Anyone who’s heard Ron play ever has probably heard him do this song; it’s his go-to cover, well inside his comfort zone, so it’s unsurprising that he whipped it out for American Idol. But, considering how many other contestants performed original songs, it’s surprising that Ron didn’t show off one of his own, like “Juliet,” which was written about chasing elusive dreams and gives his voice nice depth.