'American Idol': Nickelodeon Star Nick Merico Returns in Season Premiere

Former Nickelodeon star Nick Merico returned to American Idol in Sunday night's season premiere for another shot at the big time. The Every Witch Way actor previously appeared on the show last season, impressing the judges with his talents and earning plenty of praise from Katy Perry for his good looks. He had to leave the show early though, which the judges still clearly hold against him.

The 23-year-old singer performed "You Say" by Lauren Daigle in his audition this time, and once again, wowed judges Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. Before he sang, the judges asked him why he left the show early.

"Some personal things went down," he said. "I had to figure out a lot of things and really take the last year as a boot camp. You guys are so kind to me and I'm so grateful for this second opportunity. That's why I'm here... to sing to you guys again today."

After performing, the judges warned Merico to leave his ego behind. Perry felt he thought he was "too good for us," but Merico insisted that was not true.

Richie had some choice words too.

"We have a big problem, because, honestly, I don't like you," Richie said while Bryan laughed. "For some weird reason, you're not sitting well with me. I don't like your voice."

"What?" a shocked Perry said.

"I'm being honest. I'm being very honest," Richie said, leaning back. "I don't like your attitude and I don't really think you're going to make it in Hollywood."

There was a stunned silence in the studio, and Richie asked Merico how he felt right now.

"I feel hurt," Merico replied.

"Good, that's exactly what I want you to feel like," Richie said. "Because I want you to understand what it feels like when people don't adore you."

Perry agreed, suggesting that Merico could earn some more support if he came off as a little more humble.

After taking that slice of humble pie, Merico got a ticket to Hollywood.


New episodes of American Idol air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless