Benson Boone, the 18-year-old singer from Monroe, Washington, stunned American Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan when he auditioned, quickly earning a ticket to Hollywood Week. However, when Season 19 reached that part of the competition, Boone was nowhere to be found. The show's fans speculated that he quit the show, possibly because all he needed was one appearance on the show to get the notice he wanted. Boone and ABC have not commented on the situation.
Boone appeared on the show last month, performing Aidan Martin's "Punchline" for the judges. They were instantly impressed, with Perry going so far as predicting he could win the show if he wanted to. His vocals were impressive for someone who did not start singing until his junior year in high school. Even he was surprised by his voice, and he focused on diving in high school, reports HeraldNet. He attended Brigham Young University-Idaho last fall, but took the spring semester off to focus on singing.
It appears that Boone's audition was all he needed to gain a legion of fans and interest from the music industry. He now has 1.4 million followers on TikTok. On March 18, he posted a video announcing he was working with Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons. Two days later, he posted a video of him with Reynolds, singing Reynolds' new song "Follow You." Since then, Boone has shared other clips of himself with his new original songs.
Even before Idol, Boone was becoming famous on TikTok. "I would say that's a lot of followers but I just started posting ten months ago, and my first video got like 400,00 views, and so that kind of shocked me - I've never had that kind of exposure before," Boone told KOMO News in February. "And so I posted another video and it got 1.3 million views. And I was like 'OK this is so cool!' I was kind of nervous to post a singing video for awhile, I finally did it wasn't even that long ago - maybe five months ago. And it got 5 million views and I was just stoked. I was so happy."
His family capitalized on Boone's Idol appearance by launching the Benson Boone Scholarship Fund to help other students at his high school alma mater, Monroe High School. Fans could even order "#SwoonForBoone" shirts to show their support. "We've shipped shirts all over the United States," Sue Skillen, the Monroe Public Schools Foundation director, told HeraldNet. "We are so excited for him. It is so fun to see his success. They are just an amazing family."
Although ABC still has not commented, the Idol Pad spoiler Twitter account reported that Anilee List was his replacement. List "made the AI19 Top 24 as a result of Benson's withdrawal, either as a conventional replacement or by invalidating the need for a duel between her and another contestant on the list," the account tweeted. Fans will have to tune into Idol on ABC Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.