American Idol returns to ABC

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – American Idol made its highly-anticipated comeback Sunday night on ABC with an all-new star-studded panel of judges.

Hundreds of talented contestants drove and flew from hundreds, some thousands of miles away, auditioning some four or five times just to make it to New York. Some others got a call from an agent or recruiter as polished performers that just need a shot like Johnny Brenninkmeyer from my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

“Right now, I’m pretty chill right now, but I think when I get in there and see the judges, then I’ll probably be so nervous,” Brenninkmeyer said. “I picked up the guitar when I was like 14, and started teaching myself. I pretty much taught myself piano too, so it’s been pretty much my whole life. I play a lot of stripped-down acoustic stuff like John Meyer, Sam Smith, John Legend, and all that stuff.”

While hanging with Johnny, NEWS10 ABC’s Jimmy Marlow met Gabe Berenbaum, another low-key personality swollen with super-star talent, who enjoys life one melody at a time.

“I’ve been playing for eleven years since I was in 6th grade and now I’m 22. I’ve played music all-throughout school, and then I went to college for it and made my first album when I was in college,” Berenbaum said. “I’ve built a recording studio, and now I’m here. It’s a huge pool of talent, so just whatever I can add to that and hopefully people will relate to it. Being the next idol would be great, but for me, it’s more about sharing this, what I’m passionate about, what I’ve been doing every day for the past 10 years.”

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