28-Year-Old Singer Earns Idol’s First Platinum Ticket Of Season 22

American Idol / YouTube, WFAA / YouTube

Season 22 of American Idol premiered on Sunday, February 18, 2024.

This year, the judges traveled to five different locations around the country looking for the best singers out there.

They were to Leesburg, Georgia, Tuskegee, Alabama, Santa Barbara, California, Los Angeles, California, and Nashville, Tennessee.

What is the age range of American Idol?

To audition for American Idol, you must be between the ages of 15 and 29 years old. It seems that many people wait years to turn 15 and be able to audition for the show, while it feels like the over 25 age category lacks.

This year, a special singer walked in at the age of 28. His name is Odell Bunton Jr. A father of five, Bunton Jr. has wanted to be a singer since he was six years old.

He began pursuing music at the age of 13, but when he became a father at the young age of 17, he put his dreams aside to try and provide for his growing family. He and his wife, Shan, have an 11-year-old son, a 5-year-old daughter, a 4-year-old daughter, a 3-year-old daughter, and a 2-year-old son.

It’s never to late to chase your dreams.

He revealed that he works the night shift at the Dallas airport as a security guard and that he and his family are currently living in a motel. This was the motivation he needed to audition for Idol.

Bunton Jr. gave an incredible performance of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me” as his audition. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan were visibly impressed with every choice Bunton Jr. made in the performance.

At 28 years old, they pointed out that he is on the higher end of the age spectrum for the show. During the judging portion, Bryan brought up the last CMA Awards, where a 39-year-old Jelly Roll won New Artist of the Year.

Bunton said he watched it and even has a quote from Jelly Roll’s speech in his phone to remind him to keep going. The quote is, “The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason.”

Jelly Roll CMA acceptance speech
Country Rebel

“It’s never too late to get after this thing,” Bryan said.

After very little deliberation, all three judges said yes and told Bunton Jr., “You’re going to Hollywood!”

He celebrated with his wife, giving her a big hug and nearly knocking host Ryan Seacrest over!

A week later, Bunton Jr. was on his local ABC news station, WFAA, and he was surprised by the judges, who decided they were going to upgrade his golden ticket to a platinum ticket!

What is a platinum ticket in American Idol?

A platinum ticket was introduced during Season 20 of Idol. Only three are given out each season. These are more coveted than a regular gold ticket because the platinum ticker-holders get to skip the first round of Hollywood Week.

This surprise made Bunton Jr. and his wife break down in tears. It’s clear how much this means to them! Watch the epic surprise below!