American Idol 2018 Recap – Top 5 Carrie Underwood Night Live Blog (VIDEOS)


Tonight on American Idol the Top 5 sing TWO. One, from the catalog of American Idol season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, and the other in honor of Mothers Day.  By the end of the night, via REAL TIME voting two singers will leave the competition, and a Top 3 will be revealed. Idol fans will be able to vote at the same time, as the show telecasts in all 50 states at the same time.

American Idol 2018 Top 5 Power List – Ranking the Contestants
American Idol 2018 Song Spoilers: Top 5 Carrie Underwood Night

Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan have NO say on which singers live to sing another week. It’s up to America who stays and who goes.  

Voting rules!

Carrie Underwood will not only mentor the contestants, but perform her new single “Cry Pretty” live. Reigning American Idol winner Trent Harmon will drop by to say hi and promote his upcoming album You Got ‘Em All set for release on May 18.

The show opens with a group number of “See You Again”. Carrie Underwood joins them! Yippee. Carrie does more than just show up for a minute. She’s here for the kiddos. 

Ryan Seacrest’s mom is in the house and does the honors “THIS IS AMERICAN IDOL” she says. As I mentioned earlier today. PEEP THE CREDITS featuring the names of cast and crew members’ moms. 

Ha. Katy Perry is doing some kind of Cher cosplay thing here. 

Next, it’s a video package celebrating the career of Carrie Underwood. We see her meeting the contestants at the Bluebird Cafe. She feels their nerves, because she’s been in their shoes. 

Katy delivers some word salad about offering criticism, checking off boxes, blah blah blah. Oh, the point is, tonight they will finally deliver some actual critiques.  The show may be responding to criticism that the live show critiques have been filled with softballs.

Michael J Woodward – Flat on the Floor by Carrie Underwood – He claims to be a huge country music fan. Carrie wonders how much sass he’s gonna bring. He says “I plan to bring the sassyfrass.” She sings bits for him: “Flawless!” he says. She advises Michael to bring the “small sass” in the beginning. After rehearsal he warns  Gabby to watch out. Terrible and distracting enunciation continues. It’s a fun performance, though. He kinda mumbles his way through and pulls the mic away too soon when capturing the crowd reaction. Well. It’s not the trainwreck some folks predicted. It’s good that he’s not tentative, but a little bit of restraint on the “sassyfrass” would not have hurt.  Lionel says “It’s all about your performing my friend. You started off on a grand scale.” Katy says, ‘There’s no one like you…on this planet earth. You separate yourself because of your stage presence…” Luke says he was deliberate with his delivery. Uh. Parts of that delivery were still pretty dang messy.

Ryan is back in the lounge. They were huddled up? Cade says they were praying. They all love each other a lot!

Gabby Barrett  – Last Name by Carrie Underwood – Gabby cried when they met. She thinks Carrie’s husband is “handsome.” Carrie agrees. The country star claims she wasn’t as poised as the young singer at the same age. Gabby makes a grand entrance through the crowd. She delivers a rendition pretty close to how Carrie sings it. Still, her stage presence and confidence are undeniable, even if she delivers a karaoke like performance. She hits some soulful high notes at the end. adding a bit of her own flavor there.  Katy says people are talking about her “You are making an impression.” But she has to separate herself in the industry. True. Luke calls her “Carrie Underwood reincarnated.” Maybe a bit too much? Lionel calls it “just fabulous.” He says they vowed backstage to be 100% truthful. Hm.

We see a clip, courtesy of Macy’s, of the Top 5 finding some awesome threads for a photo shoot. 

Cade Foehner – Undo It by Carrie Underwood – Oh gosh. Carrie is flirting with Cade a little. Carrie advises him to hold back a bit initially. OK. My TV is not broken. The song started in black and white and switched over to living  color. The song is well suited to Cade’s vocal abilities–he can growl his way through and it works. His raucous performance should be a crowd pleaser. Luke wonders how it feels to make Carrie blush. He adds that the the show has pushed Cade out of his comfort zone and that Carrie gave him great vocal advice. “You have grown in confidence so much.” Lionel mentions again that he’s TRYING to be critical. Katy agrees that Carrie’s advice was good. “Focus a little more on subtlety.” Ryan is making a hair appointment back in Texas for Cade from the stage.

Ha ha. You know the producers told the judges to be critical this week and Lionel is visibly struggling with that.

Hello Trent Harmon! He’s here to chat with Ryan about his debut album, coming out on May 18. He got to write 8 of the 11 songs. He’ll be out with Rascal Flatts this summer. He let’s Luke know that his August tour is open. He’d love to tour with Luke this summer. 

Caleb Lee Hutchinson – So Small by Carrie Underwood – Caleb is nervous around Carrie. She is very kind. “He just needs to get out of his own way and connect his on song.”  His mom is a huge fan, says Caleb. No doubt they’ll meet backstage tonight. Caleb’s version is even more countrified than Carrie’s.  Hers was more pop ballad, less twang. Caleb seems really nervous tonight and is not quite landing the performance. He nails the high notes, which helps. But this song is meant to produce chills. And…nada. Lionel says, “You’re about as real as it comes, you are a stylist unto yourself. You are exactly who you are.” Once again, Lionel says he’s trying to be hard! He’s trying! Katy loves his sense of humor. But thinks others are “physically outperforming him.” She advises him to “flap his wings.” Luke says, “Your voice is going to be your own voice…you’re not going to sound like anyone else.”

Katy is the only judge managing to deliver any criticism tonight.  And. I’m not going to lie. Maddie hasn’t sung a note, and I’ve already logged all my votes for her. No more vote splitting for me.

Maddie gets a little sit down with Ryan before she takes the stage. She says she’s nervous, but totally prepared. 

Maddie Poppe – I Told You So – Maddie admits to being a HUGE Carrie Underwood fan growing up. “Your voice is even more hypnotic in person,” says Carrie. She notes Maddie is a perfectionist. “You’re thinking too much,” Carrie says. “Just do you.” Maddie accompanies herself on guitar as she delivers a lovely and unique rendition. Maddie manages to put her personal imprint on everything she sings. Katy says she was “in your world….you definitely have a lot of strengths.” Katy tell her to make a record real quick. Luke calls her a perfect storyteller. He’s going to find a honkey tonk and cold beer. He’s been waiting for her to do a country song. Lionel warns her not to overthink. “You have it my dear.”

Carrie Underwood is trending on twitter. Of course she is…

Ryan is featured in a “Monster’s Inc” promo. Gotta love synergy…

Next the “one and only” Carrie Underwood takes the stage to perform her new single “Cry Pretty.” She’s showing y’all how it’s done. Carrie elevates this ordinary song to the highest levels. Carrie says the Top 5 are the “nicest group of people.” She says, “They’re bringing it tonight. I’m so proud I got to part of that journey. This is life changing…their dreams coming true.” She shares about co writing and co producing the new album. Cry Pretty the album will be available September 14.

Katy has her own three front runners. But she’s not saying. “Carrie Underwood is one of them,” quips Luke. That segment had an awkward start. Ryan wanted to know when Katy would become a mom. 

Gabby Barrett – I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston – Gabby’s mom reads a letter Gabby wrote out loud. TEARS. Mom tells Gabby to follow her heart and dreams “Make every moment count,” she says. Gabby performs the song like the big old fashioned ballad that it is. Not a country twang or banjo in sight. Her vocal is solid, and strong. Folks who love this song won’t be disappointed. Luke has nothing to say. He’s speechless. Lionel mentions that he knew Whitney and she took the song to the next level. “I have a lot of glue on this wig and you just loosened it!” says Katy. Gabby gives a shout out to Michael Orland and Dorian Holly. Nice.

Katy’s mom has a message. She tells moms to keep encouraging their kids. ‘God’s got a hand in their lives,” she promises. 

Ryan’s mom has a special message for her son. She ends with his signature, “Seacrest’s mom out.”

Cade Foehner – Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd – Cade becomes very emotional talking about his youth, singing in church. His mom reads an emotional letter out loud. He sings against a simple acoustic backdrop. It’s a heartfelt performance. The band kicks in on the second chorus. Cade is so connected to this song. The message obviously resonates. His vulnerable performance, coupled with the clips with his mom AND a very good first performance? I think Cade’s got this tonight.  Lionel says that was it for those who missed the 60s and 70s. Katy admires his vulnerability. “Finally we are seeing what you are about in that song,” says Luke.

Michael J Woodard – Still I Rise by Yolanda Adams – Michael does it all for mom. She’s crying. He reads his letter. “Mommy you are the light of my life…I can’t wait until I can give you the world.”  This song is right in Michael’s sweet spot. He’s a young Michael Jackson right here. It’s a beautiful interpretation of an emotional song. THIS IS WHY WE LOVE MICHAEL. I would be so happy if he advanced to the Top 3. The judges are on their feet. “You’re anointed,” says Katy, who had become visibly moved during his performance. “I had my emotions removed.” Luke blames Katy for bringing a tear to his eye. “We love you so much,” says Lionel. Oh. running out of time for judges critiques.

Ugh. Maddie has the anti-pimp spot. Closing the show ain’t what it used to be. Good thing I got my votes in.


Lionel’s sister stands in for his late mom. “American Idol is perfect for you,” she says. He shares how he keeps thinking about his mom and dad and grandparents. His mom always believed in him.

Caleb Lee Hutchinson – Stars in Alabama by Jamey Johnson – Caleb’s mom cries as she reads his letter. “I thank God every day for allowing me to be your mother.” He says, “It’s nice to know if music doesn’t work out I can live in the basement until I die.” Ha. Much better song choice from Caleb. He’s back in his comfort zone here. ‘So Small” was perhaps too big a song for him. Caleb does better on quiet ballads. His deep vocal is a nice counterpoint to a mournful pedal steel. Luke enjoys hearing him in his wheelhouse “Great song choice.” Lionel says, “If you can close your eyes, and I know it’s you in two notes, that’s stardom my friend.” Katy wonders about his sense of humor. He says it comes from his dad. In two years when he turns 21, Katy wants to drink a beer with him.

Luke’s mom is having a great day at the beach! She’s got some things to tell him about fishing. OK then. Oh wait…she’s not at the beach. She surprises him on camera. “You got me,” he says. “This is too much show,” he says.  She’s never been to LA. Wow. 

Aw. These mom segments are corny, but they are putting a smile on my face. 

Maddie Poppe – God Only Knows by the Beach Boys – Maddie’s mom reads her letter. “I hope to be half the mother you are some day.” They look so much alike. “I want you to pursue your dreams,” says mom. “I’m a little selfish, because I miss you so much…keep being you.” This performance is everything I was hoping for. JUST GORGEOUS. Maddie’s exquisite phrasing and delicate delivery is EVERYTHING EVERYTHING. She sheds a tear at the last note. What a performance. MADDIE DESERVES TO ADVANCE PEOPLE. Lionel wants folks out in the audience to VOTE. “I’m so proud of you. This journey has been an amazing one.” Katy wishes she could have written “God Only Knows” she says, “You did it justice. Your taste is impeccable.” Luke loves that she got choked up. “Very endearing,” he says.

Time for the RESULTS. Kieran dim the lights! Here we go! Twenty million votes. Caleb is the first to advance to the Top 3. Uh oh. Does this mean both boys will advance to the Top 3? Gabby is called next. A no brainer and last….Maddie! OH MY GOSH. I wasn’t expecting that. Cade had a very good night tonight. I expected him to move on.  OMG I AM LITERALLY SCREAMING IN MY HOUSE I AM SCARING THE NEIGHBORS.

A perfect Top 3 would have included both Maddie and Michael, but that was such a long shot. The country singers WILL NOT BE DENIED. 

Top 3

Caleb Lee Hutchinson
Gabby Barrett
Maddie Pope !!!!!!!!!


Michael J Woodard
Cade Foehner


About mj santilli 34422 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!