EDITOR'S UPDATE: On the May 12 episode of "American Idol," CSUSB alumna Abi Carter earned a spot in the Top 3.  She sang "Part of My World" from The Little Mermaid, and she performed "The Chain" from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

"Your voice is custom tailored for the Disney songbook," said judge Lionel Richie of Carter's "Part of My World" performance. 

Of her "American Idol" experience, Carter said, "I haven’t felt like anything I’ve experienced has been real since my audition, life is a dream.

"Every single one of you that have been supporting me on this journey has made me who I am today," she continued on her May 12 Instagram post [@abicartermusic]. "Thank you thank you thank you for your love, for your criticism, for your thoughts, it has all made me grow."

Her performances the last few weeks have not only earned rave reviews from the judges but have won over "American Idol" fans. On May 5, Abi 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 April 29, she stunned audiences with her take on Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life," and she also performed Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" with three of the other contestants. On April 21, she performed Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and on April 28, she sang Coldplay's "Clocks." 

In an interview with local KESQ News Channel 3, Carter said, "Every week you expect to go home, and every week, I've been even more supported than I was the week before. It's amazing." 

Carter has a new single, "This Isn't Over," debuting on March 17. Details can be found in her instagram bio.

Carter will appear next on "American Idol" on the show finale on Sunday, May 19 on the ABC network. Episodes stream a day later on Hulu. 

Rising star and CSUSB alumna Abi Carter '23, a 21-year-old native of Indio, has not only made a splash with her audition on “American Idol,” but on March 29, she also released her debut single, "It's All Love." The release of the track underscores her expanding musical journey and offers audiences a glimpse into her potential as a recording artist. In addition, on March 29, "American Idol" posted a beautiful performance of the song, "California Dreamin,'" by Abi Carter and two other contestants on the show, Julia Gagnon and Odell Bunton, Jr., displaying their collective talent and the depth of Carter's musical abilities.

In a standout audition on Feb. 25, Carter left an indelible mark on “American Idol” season 22. She showcased her musical talent on a national platform, proving her prowess beyond academic achievements. During the audition, Carter brought her unique voice and emotional depth to the fore, captivating the judges.

Carter achieved an academic milestone in May 2023, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in psychology from CSUSB’s Palm Desert Campus. But her ambitions have always extended beyond the academic realm, deeply rooted in her lifelong passion for music — a passion nurtured in the Coachella Valley, where she has serenaded audiences for years with the same angelic voice that captivated the “American Idol” judges.

Carter’s audition, the final of the night, was nothing short of mesmerizing. Seated at the piano, Carter infused Billie Eilish's "What Was I Made For?" with her unique spin, delivering an emotionally charged performance that left judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie spellbound. Following a standing ovation, Richie expressed the collective sentiment without hesitation: "We don’t have to vote." Perry, moved by the performance, asked, "What were you made for?" only to answer, "You were made for this!" Bryan proclaimed, "That may be the winner of 'American Idol.'"

The judges' acclaim was not just limited to words. In a heartwarming twist, the judges surprised Carter by upgrading her golden ticket to Platinum. This remarkable accolade allowed her to bypass the first round at Hollywood Week, placing her directly in the second round of this fiercely competitive musical journey.

Carter's backstory is as compelling as her vocal talent, marked by resilience and determination. 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 performance on “American Idol,” she has demonstrated the capacity to inspire and achieve.

As Carter prepares for her next appearance on the show,  tune in and cheer for a member of the Coyote family as she pursues her dreams on the national stage. Her journey from CSUSB to “American Idol” is a powerful reminder of where talent, passion and dedication can lead.

Abi Carter performed Adele's "Hello" on "American Idol" on May 5.
Abi Carter performed Adele's "Hello" on "American Idol" on May 5. Photo courtesy of Carter's instagram, @abicartermusic.