When American Idol came to ABC for Season 16, after 15 seasons on Fox, fans were expecting few changes. Ryan Seacrest, who had been there from the beginning, was back. The audition process, with the cheers of "You're Going to Hollywood!" bestowed upon successful contestants, seemed to function just like in the old days.
Sunday night, fans discovered that there would be something else about Season 16 that was a reminder of an old American Idol installment: contestant Adam Sanders returning under the singer's stage persona Ada Vox.
As TV Line reported, Vox would be a familiar face only for those "who watched the show's 12th season really closely." That's not just because Sanders was sporting a very different look in 2013. Back then, Adam was cut pretty early at Top 50, not a bad showing for any American Idol hopeful, but perhaps a blow to someone with Sanders' level of talent.
As Ada Vox showed on Sunday night, there is some serious talent in this contestant, and Katy Petty, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan were not the first to see it. A clip of Sanders' audition in Season 12 -- check it out below -- shows that that panel was also blown away by that voice.So, what happened over the past five years? In an interview with San Antonio ABC station KSAT, Vox gave a quick overview of how life has changed from age 19 to 24.
"I've gone through an evolution. I'm now a part time woman. And I've grown so much as an entertainer, as a performer, as a singer because of the show and the experiences it's allowed me."The other tidbit Vox revealed? American Idol has a nicer backstage since it was moved to ABC. The show is less focused on creating drama and more about becoming a family. Giving some insight into the judges, Vox was diplomatic, revealing Richie to be a warm and welcoming father figure, Bryan a dorky big brother, and Perry a woman who tells you exactly what she thinks.
That mix is likely quite different from the 2013 American Idol panel, which featured original judge Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, as well as Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. As MTV wrote at the time, there were rumors of a challenging working relationship between the judges on that season, in particular between Carey and Minaj.
One thing that Carey and Minaj definitely agreed on, however, was Adam Sanders, as you can see in the clip below.The next episode of American Idol will start the Hollywood Week rounds, where Ada Vox will have another shot at making that Idol dream come true.
American Idol airs on ABC.