GV student advances on ‘American Idol’


Courtesy / Reette Thorns

Hailey Hentz, Staff Writer

Reette Thorns, a Grand Valley State University theatre major, is advancing to the next round of “American Idol.” In an episode aired on March 12, Thorns received the votes needed at her audition to move further into the 21st season of the American singing competition. 

After singing at tryouts via Zoom, Thorns’ audition was filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada in September 2022. The celebrity judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, listened as Thorns performed “I Believe” by Fantasia Barrino, a previous “American Idol” winner. Receiving the votes needed to advance, she is set to sing in the show’s next round. 

“I was invited to Las Vegas to audition for the celebrity judges and I was there for like four or five days,” Thorns said. “I had lots of things to do (such as) interviews, photoshoots, media videos, radio recordings and rehearsals. It was an insane process and very tiring but the moment was so worth it.”

As a child in Madison, Wisconsin, Thorns watched “American Idol” with her mother, who inspired her to pursue singing. In her audition, Thorns described her adolescence in foster care as her mother struggled with addiction. Throughout difficult times, she has remained close with her mom through their shared love of singing. 

“What inspired me to start singing was my mom,” Thorns said. “She sang all her life (and) we still sing for fun. She is one of my biggest inspirations.”

According to an article by The Cap Times, Thorns described how growing up, singing came naturally, which led her to perform at her eighth-grade graduation and at a talent show.

In light of her accomplishments, Thorns never received any formal vocal training. “American Idol” is only part of Thorns’ overall goal, as she’s also working towards performing professionally and writing her own songs. 

Performing in GVSU’s production of Shakespeare’s “Merry Wives of Windsor” in fall 2022 pushed Thorns to pursue majoring in theatre. In addition to courses in the major, Thorns noted that her friends in GVSU’s a capella group, Euphoria, have helped her in practicing and had a true impact on her journey.

I love how Reette’s warmth, thoughtfulness, and intelligence was conveyed through the camera’s lens,” said Associate Theatre Professor Allison Manville Metz. “Our theatre program probably includes some of her biggest fans and I am personally honored that I get to directly support such a talented, kind, resilient human during her time here with us at GVSU.”

Thorns’ being a contestant on “American Idol” led her to encourage students to dream big. 

You can shoot for the moon,” Thorns said. “The sky is not the limit.”

Looking forward to her next appearance on television, Thorns said appearing on the show means a lot to her and that she’s excited to see where the show takes her. 

“This opportunity means everything to me,” Thorns said. “I have been waiting for so long to be able to show the world who I am and singing is a big part of that. I am excited to see what this does for me.” 

To follow along with Thorns’ journey on “American Idol,” those interested can tune in on Sunday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC.