ABC/Eric McCandless(LOS ANGELES) — On Sunday’s episode of American idol, the top 14 contestants performed solo, and for the first time this season, America has a hand in placing at least a portion of the contenders through to the next round.
Voting opened during Sunday’s show and closes Monday at 9 a.m. ET. Viewers were instructed to vote online, in the American Idol app or via text, where they could vote 10 times per contestant, per method. The top six will move on based on America’s vote. The remaining eight artists will perform once more on Monday, with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan deciding which four will be added to the top 10.
Here are Sunday’s highlights:
Caleb Lee Hutchinson kicked things off, singing and picking banjo on “Midnight Train to Memphis,” by The Steeldrivers. Katy was “blown away” by the performance, praising his growth, while also noting that she sensed some nerves. However, Luke but wasn’t crazy about the song choice and Lionel wanted to see more of Caleb’s personality.
Michelle Sussett followed, performing a high energy version of the current hit “FRIENDS,” by Marshmello and Anne-Marie. Luke declared that Michelle “became a pop star tonight,” and Lionel agreed, noting the Venezuela native “owned” the song and gave us “attitude.” However, Katy wasn’t impressed with the song choice, recommending that Michelle needs to play to TV viewers, not just studio audience.
Marcio Donaldson took his turn on the stage, singing Barry Manilow’s “It’s a Miracle.” Lionel praised the “old school” choice, but thought Donaldson’s confidence was getting “a little out of control.” Katy agreed, telling the artist to stop thinking about the results and just sing. Luke commended the singer for showing America “a whole ‘nother element” of his talent.
Mara Justine, 16, performed “This Is Me,” from the film The Greatest Showman, but failed to sell it to the judges. Katy acknowledged Mara came a long way as far as owning the stage, but didn’t rise vocally until the middle of the song. Luke agreed, suggesting she completely “emotionally invested” in the performance, while adding that he knew she had it in her.
Garrett Jacobs covered a former Idol winner, Phillip Phillips’ “Raging Fire.” Luke judged the performance dynamic, but pitchy, though Garrett was the first artist of the night in his opinion to look comfortable on stage. Lionel advised Jacobs to ignore the voice in his head and “stay in character.”
Drag queen Ada Vox blew the judges away with a take on Queen’s “The Show Must Go On.” You came here tonight to stop the show,” exclaimed Lionel, to which Perry added, “not only did you stop the show, you finally to started it, Queen.“ Luke said Ada had the biggest voice he ever heard.
Catie Turner, who revealed in her pre-performance package that she has plenty of fans — and a fair amount of haters as well — tackled Hozier’s “Take Me to Church.” Afterwards, Katy and Luke urged Catie to ignore her critics, insisting she could win the competition.
Cade Foehner showed the judges and America he had the moves — as well as the vocal and guitar chops — with his performance of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman.” Luke said Cade delivered the big vocal experience they’ve come to expect, while proving that he didn’t need it to wow the audience. Lionel called Foehner “the package.”
Dennis Lorenzo followed with “In My Blood,” by Shawn Mendes. Katy found it “a little shaky” at the start, but he eventually made her a believer. Luke praised Dennis for showing so many sides of himself with each of his performances.
Maddie Poppe switched the mood with her dreamy version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.” Katy said Maddie had “Incredible musical taste.” Lionel stressed that music isn’t “a business of singers,” but rather “a business of stylists,” adding that Poppe presented herself on every song. He went on to say that Maddie could “possibly be a winner on American Idol.”
Jurnee brought the judges to their feet, singing and rapping her way through “Bang Bang,” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. Luke and Lionel praised Jurnee for “bringing it,” and Katy was impressed with her growth as a performer, as well as a singer.
Next, Jonny Brenns covered Panic! At the Disco’s “This Is Gospel.” The judges agreed his vocals needed more work, but applauded him for always “having fun.”
The always unpredictable Michael J. Woodard delivered his spin on “Titanium,” by David Guetta, featuring Sia. He drew a standing ovation from the judges, including Katy, who told the 20-year-old, “After the show is finished, I’m going to Coachella with Sia…and…I will tell her, ‘I met a star today that sang your song incredibly.’”
Country singer Gabby Barrett closed out the show with her rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” Luke dubbed it his favorite performance of the night. Katy joked that Gabby “went through the ‘starwash,’” adding Gabby looked and sounded “like a gosh darn star.” Lionel called it a “magical moment,” declaring, “we’re watching the beginning to that phrase, ‘A star is born.’”
American Idol returns Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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