June 19, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

CSUSB Alumna Abi Carter Wins ‘American Idol’

3 min read

Abi Carter is the winner of season 22 of "American Idol."

CSUSB alumna Abi Carter ’23, the singing sensation from Indio, concluded her extraordinary run on season 22 of “American Idol” by being crowned the winner. This remarkable journey, which began with a standout audition on Feb. 25 that catapulted her into the hearts of American viewers, showcased not only her vocal talent but also her profound artistry and resilience.

The May 19 show finale was filled with show-stopping performances and surprises. Carter performed Bon Jovi’s “Bed of Roses” to applause that went on so long, she broke down in tears. An even greater surprise for the singer was a pre-recorded video from Billie Eilish, whose song Carter sang for her audition. Eilish said, “I wish you nothing but the best. I’m here to support you, and I love ya,” to a stunned Carter.

Carter’s performances continued with a moving rendition of “Somewhere” from West Side Story, which was her tribute to her hometown of Indio. Carter also had the opportunity to perform her original single, “This Isn’t Over.”

When she was proclaimed the winner, Carter’s surprise was apparent.

“HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE!?!?!?!? I couldn’t have imagined winning #americanidol when I started this whole journey,” said Carter of her win on her May 19 Instagram post. “I’m just a girl from Indio, who used to sing on street corners, and now I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to work with some of the most talented people in the industry and be heard by millions of people. This is my dream and I know it’s just the beginning.”

Carter, a 2023 summa cum laude psychology graduate of CSUSB’s Palm Desert Campus, has been an inspiration throughout her time on “American Idol.” Her initial audition on Feb. 25 left the judges – Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan – spellbound, as she delivered an emotionally charged rendition of Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” This performance earned her a rare Platinum ticket, allowing her to skip the first round of Hollywood Week, and turned out to be a foreshadowing of the accolades to come.

Throughout the competition, Carter’s performances continued to earn rave reviews from the judges, cementing her as a standout contestant. On April 1, the judges officially invited her to be one of the top 24 contestants on the show, and on April 7, her participation in the competition reached a new high when she performed “Oceans” by Hillsong United and Katy Perry proclaimed her to be “her favorite” singer in the competition.

Abi Carter’s surprise was apparent when she was named the winner of “American Idol” on the May 19 show finale.

Her performances the last few weeks have not only received glowing reviews from the judges but have also won over “American Idol” fans. On April 29, she stunned audiences with her take on Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life.” On May 5, Carter performed Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” and Adele’s “Hello,” earning her a spot in the Top 5. On the May 12 episode, she showcased her versatility and charisma as she sang “Part of My World” from The Little Mermaid and then performed “The Chain” from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, securing her spot in the Top 3.

Whether she sings as part of a group or as a soloist, Carter’s ability to convey deep emotion and connect with her audience has set her apart, making her journey on the show a memorable one. Her March 31 performance of “California Dreamin'” alongside fellow contestants Julia Gagnon and Odell Bunton Jr., and the April 29 performance of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” with Kaibrienne, McKenna Breinholt and Julia Gagnon further showcased her ability to collaborate and shine within a group setting.

On the night of the finale, the female contestants paid tribute to Perry as this is the judge’s last season on “American Idol.” Carter shone in the group performance, a medley of Perry’s hit songs.

Alongside her achievements on “American Idol”, Carter also released her debut single “It’s All Love” on March 29, which highlights her versatility as a recording artist.

Carter’s story is one of determination, passion, and resilience. From being homeschooled during high school so she could get a job and support her family to her academic achievements at CSUSB and show-stopping performances on “American Idol,” she has demonstrated the capacity to inspire and achieve.


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