Long Island singer-songwriter Christiaan Padavan will appear on the ABC revival of "American Idol" Monday night (8 p.m., Ch. 7) auditioning for judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.
"I've been auditioning for every show like 'American Idol' ever since I was 12, and specifically for 'American Idol' since I was 15," says Padavan, 20, who was born in Southampton and raised in Hampton Bays. The only child of Susan and Jeff Padavan, he recalls being "really disappointed when Fox ended [the show, after 15 seasons from 2002 to 2016] and was really excited when ABC brought it back [in 2016]."
Padavan — whose given name Christiaan has two "a"s since "my mom wanted my name to stick out" — says he made it onto this 17th season by attending an open audition in Florida, "where I got a 'maybe' from the producers. And then I was doing a charity gala for Dunkin' Donuts at the Edison Ballroom in Times Square," along with his band, Away for the Day, "and I got a phone call from my mom that the producers wanted to see me again, but this time in Manhattan."
Performing for the show again, he got the OK to audition for the celebrity judges on air — with his baritone ukulele. "When I was younger I took guitar lessons but I was a lazy 12-year-old and learned how to play the ukulele through a friend since it was so easy," he says. "I use a baritone ukulele since it's a deeper pitch that sounds almost like a guitar and fits my vocal tone better" than a regular ukulele.
Padavan attended Five Towns College for two semesters, then Suffolk County Community College for one before leaving to play music and work full time. He's currently a marketing assistant at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and an intern at WBEA / 101.7 The Beach, in Water Mill.
Padavan will watch the show Monday at the Knights of Columbus in his hometown alongside family, friends and his girlfriend, Victoria Ziccardi, who accompanied him to the on-air audition. "There's nothing like Long Island," he says. "The people, the view, the food — it's just the best."