American Idol 2019 heads to the Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii for the Top 40 Showcase Round. After the singers perform on an outdoor stage in front of an audience, the judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan will make some hard decisions.
In what’s called the “green mile”, singers will make a long walk to sit in front of the judges to learn if they made the Top 20 or not. Host Ryan Seacrest and mentor Bobby Bones will also be on hand.
Spoilers below! NO SPOILER DISCUSSION ON THE LIVE BLOG. Keep spoiler talk under the spoilers posts. Giving stuff away will result in an instant banning.
Get your popcorn and sodas ready before settling in friends. Tonight’s episode is THREE HOURS LONG!
The episode kicks off with Ryan Seacrest interrupting a beach party. He harshes everyone’s vibe by announcing that half the singers will be sent home. “That’s the way the show works!” he says.
Alyssa Raghu – Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor – Alyssa was eliminated at this stage last year. Ugh. Lame. Honestly, I can’t get past how much I hate this stupid song. She’s upping the “personality” factor on purpose. Katy called her performances “forgettable” before cutting her last year. She is impressed, “It looks natural finally!” Katy says. Alyssa cries as she sits waiting for the verdict. “There was no disconnect last night,” says Katy, “But that isn’t the case every time.” Katy adds, “we don’t see the Top 20….WITHOUT you in it.” Alyssa Raghu Makes the Top 20
Madison Vandenburg – Who’s Lovin’ You by The Jackson 5 (Smokey Robinson) – After her audition, Katy declared Madison as good as Kelly Clarkson. Way to pour on the pressure! Madison changes up from big ballads, delivering a soulful version of a classic. Used to her sitting behind a piano, Madison is a surprisingly good performer, ending the song on her knee. “How about that time I told you you made Top 20?” Lionel says after asking Madison about her favorite moment so. She looked pretty confused! – Madison Vandenburg Makes the Top 20
Myra Tran – How Far I’ll Go from Disney’s ‘Moana’ – Luke also compared Myra to Kelly. A Vietnamese native, Myra won X Factor Vietnam a few years ago. Her voice doesn’t sound strong here until she hits a big note on the end. It’s a little pitchy. She seems really nervous and out of breath. Afterward she cries as she explains that she’s “just telling my story.” Apparently she sang the song for the Vietnamese version of the soundtrack. Lionel felt the performance wasn’t 100%. “Unfortunately, it will not take you to the next phase of the competition.” Poor thing, She wanted it so bad. She realizes she didn’t “sing good.” Myra Tran is ELIMINATED
Logan Johnson – Sorry by Justin Bieber – He plans to sing half in Spanish–he wants to take a risk without stepping too far out of his comfort zone. He busts out the Spanish and the judges ARE impressed. He has a nice tone, but vocally he’s not strong. He’d do well in a boy band, I think. He should consider that. Oops. He reached down to grab hands, and he almost got pulled off the stage. Luke says they’ve had to tell singers tough news in the past “Fortunately you’re not one of them. FYI: He has a pain pill addiction and has only been clean and sober for less than a year. Logan Johnson Makes the Top 20
Nate Walker – Still by Lionel Richie – He lost his voice during group rounds and didn’t want to sing. He advanced anyway. Bobby cautions that singing a Lionel Richie song is a big risk. But Nate is up for it. The young singer has impressive pipes, but he over-embellishes his performances with runs. Nate is feeling pretty confident as he makes his way to the judges. Lionel thinks he’s in his head too much and has to “feel his audience.” And he didn’t. “You won’t make our Top 20,” says Lionel. “I had all this hope I was going to get a yes,” he says. Eggs, and hatching, you know. – Nate Walker is ELIMINATED.
Dimitrius – Latch by Disclosure ft Sam Smith – Lionel wants him to have his “instant identity.” What’s it going to be for you? Lionel asks. Dimitrius leaves his green mile interview crying. Hmmmmmm. Now we rewind to yesterday. Bobby and Dimitrius chat about his mother, who is still struggling with her health (she dialed into his Hollywood performance from her hospital bed before some big surgery). He has a very pretty voice with a sweet falsetto. His vibrato is fast, which would annoy me usually, but not here. It adds an interesting texture to his vocal. His power notes are impressive. He comes out to the holding room looking sad. But then…HA HA FAKE OUT. His mom screams as he shares the good news over the phone. – Dimitrius is in the Top 20
Ashley Hess – Feel A Way by H.E.R. – At her audition, Katy declared that Ashley could win American Idol. She is very good. This time she’ll perform without her piano. And…she’s still really really good. She has SUCH a gorgeous tone and beautiful intonation and phrasing. Plus she makes it look so easy. This gal has got it going on. “Wow she’s got some voice on her,” says Lionel. But, he felt she wasn’t in control in the first half. I’m not sure I agree with that. Luke believes she should STAY behind the piano. Luke says, “Unfortunately we can’t guarantee you’re Top 10…but we can guarantee you’re Top 20.” These fake outs. – Ashley Hess is in the Top 20
Drake McCain – Girls Like You by Maroon 5 – He of the crazy hair do. “I just want to show them I’m a performer.” Good plan, because the vocals were a little rough. He IS likable, though. This song isn’t a good competition song, I don’t think. Katy calls him a “secret charmer.” She says, “I felt you were straining to hit some of those notes.” Yes. She delivers bad news–Drake is cut – Drake McCain is ELIMINATED.
Kai the Singer – Wild Things by Alessia Cara – Kai and her family are poor–they only survive with the help of her church. Work on that diction, girl. I don’t understand a word you are singing. And she’s still having pitch problems. She’s working the stage pretty well, though. She’s got some SERIOUS dance moves! “She did a couple of runs that weren’t great” says Katy. She calls Kai an inspiration. “Imagine what you could do in a couple of years. You can’t skip the steps. You can only learn through experience. Unfortunately you won’t be heading to the next round.” Luke gets honest–her vocals were not always 100 percent – Kai is ELIMINATED
Laci Kaye Booth – Georgia on My Mind by Ray Charles – She sings an acoustic version of the song accompanying herself on guitar. The country blues arrangement puts her raspy vocals front and center. This girl’s voice really pops! On the next verse, she busts out some big vocals. Katy calls her a “diamond in the rough.” “There’s a lot of talent and it’s difficult to get everyone into the Top 20…but the timing is right for you.” She’s been dreaming about a spot on Idol her entire life. – Laci Kay Booth is in the Top 20
Nick Townsend – Hold Back the River by James Bay – He’s the singer who recently lost two brothers to suicide. He’s emotional talking about them–he saw the moon when he hit the stage and thought about them. Nick delivers his most dynamic performance so far. He ends the performance with a raspy wail. His sister is with him for support. Luke says, “Your story has really affected us. We’ve been honored to get to know you.” Hm. Luke didn’t think it was his best performance. “Everybody needs to be at the top of their game…” and we’re going to commercial break. DRAMA. And now we’re back. “It’s very heavy on our hearts to let you know that you’re not in our Top 20.” Aw. Nick is taking it well. Lionel calls him an “inspiration.” – Nick Townsend is ELIMINATED
Clay Paige, Kason Lester, Johanna Jones, are ELIMINATED – Johanna got engaged on stage in Hollywood. Kason is the strawberry farmer. Clay we hardly knew ye.
Walker Burrows – Youngblood by 5 Seconds of Summer – Walker talks about his array of sun products. The redhead burns easy. His twin sister actually lives in Hawaii, which is very convenient. He performs a ballady version of the pop song behind an electric keyboard. He picks up the pace at the chorus. He’s got a bit of an 80’s vibe here. Luke says he has to work on his live skills. Walker felt it was his weakest performance. Other than a few pitch problems here and there, it’s decent. I liked the arrangement. “It’s going to be very hard for us NOT to see you in our Top 20,” says Lionel. Walker Burrows is in the Top 20
Ryan Hammond – A Song for You by Donny Hathaway – Two years ago he had surgery and lost a ton of weight. Katy says she’s looking for an artist and to dig deep. He’s in a new relationship, but his boyfriend Chris couldn’t make it to Hawaii. He pours so much emotion into the song, singing a very heartfelt and soulful version. His best performance yet. “I don’t know what you tell yourself every day to come so far…you listened, you applied what we said,” says Katy. She makes him repeat an “affirmation” which is “I am in the Top 20.” Ryan breaks down into tears at the news. – Ryan Hammond is in the Top 20
Evelyn Cormier – No Roots by Alice Merton – I’ve decided. I don’t like her grating and affected tone. – Evelyn Cormier is in the Top 20
Kate Barnett – Royals by Lorde – She accompanies herself on an electric guitar. Kate has a very cool vibe. We’ve barely seen her so far, unfortunately. I wish we’d seen more of this artist. Kate Barnett is in the Top 20
Emma Kleinberg – Is This Love? by Bob Marley And The Wailers – Her brother suffered brain damage after attempting suicide. Her entire family is in Hawaii with her. I like her sound. She reminds me a little of season 11’s Elise Testone. Katy likes the grit in her voice, but didn’t see that on the live stage. “I need you to find more sparkle, unfortunately it’s not going to be on this show.” Oh. Harsh. I wish we’d heard more from her. – Emma Kleinberg is ELIMINATED
Uche – Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry – Uche comes on stage wearing a wild feather jacket. He’s doing a funky 70’s deal. Remember, Lionel told him if he could pull off the funk a la George Clinton, he had a chance. Uche is quite the entertainer. He’ knows how to work the stage. He’s wild! But he’s a better performer than singer. There’s a pile of screechy screeching going on here. Lionel says, “you killed it last night. You let me hear a voice I ever heard before…You can’t teach stage presence.” He calls him “Mr. Entertainment.” Lionel continues, “With great debate you’ve got to go home…and then come back for the Top 20.” Did somebody sit down and write these lame fake outs? I hope not. – Uche is in the Top 20
Alejandro Aranda – Yellow by Coldplay – He tells Bobby that he grew up awkward and feels most comfortable on stage. I worried a little about Alejandro’s ability to cover songs. But this rendition of “Yellow” is just lovely–a beautiful, lilting arrangement. THOSE GUITAR CHORDS! He ends with a little guitar solo before delivering a vulnerable last line. Katy feels trying for American Idol was a risk. “It’s not stereotypical pop stardom..keep taking those risks. At some point the decision will be out of our control. But it is now. You’re in our Top 20.” – Alejandro Aranda is in the Top 20
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon – Landslide by Fleetwood Mac – He’s no longer working as a janitor at his dad’s church, where he is not really welcome. His family does not accept his sexuality. He picked “Landside” because the song soothed him after a difficult discussion with his parents. He wants them to know that he loves them. He wishes they were here. THEY DON’T DESERVE YOU JEREMIAH. Another beautiful performance. This singer is one of my favorites. The vocal isn’t perfect, but it’s emotional and vulnerable. He’s wearing his heart on his sleeve without shame. Katy says, “He’s got such a great and unique voice.” We have a lot in common, says Katy. “I started to find my true self.” She shares about her religious parents disapproval of how she lives her life. “I’m so proud of you…I’m so excited you’re going to continue your journey to the Top 20.” Aw. His boyfriend is with him in Hawaii. Jeremiah is in the Top 20
Shayy – All I Ask by Adele – She’s very emotional with Ryan before she hears the news. She’s made so many friends on the journey. She killed during rehearsal. But will she bring it during her performance? She seems a little nervous and is having some pitch issues. She feels that she accomplished what she came to do. Unfortunately, the judges weren’t feeling it. Lionel calls her a light that inspires everybody. But he has to judge her on her singing….oop we won’t find out until after the commercial break! “The potential is endless…the timing may be not be good…you’re not going to make the Top 20.” Lionel says, “That’s a tough one.” – Shayy is ELIMINATED
ALSO: Mica Giaconi, Payton Taylor, Idalis Marie are ELIMINATED – LOTS and lots of tears. “I am so broken,” cries Idalis.
Riley Thompson – Mama’s Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert – I have mixed feelings about Riley. She’s the youngest at 16. She’s still got some rough edges, but her potential is obvious. She’s got spark. Luke calls her America’s “country sweetheart.” He’s wondering if she’s too young to sing at a “high high level.” But, they’ve decided to roll the dice. Riley is in! Riley Thompson is in the Top 20
Quick shots of singers we’ve barely seen: HAPPY NEWS THOUGH.
Raquel Trinidad – Rich Girl by Hall And Oates – Raquel is in the Top 20
Shawn Robinson – Rock With You by Michael Jackson – Shawn is in the Top 20
Bumbly – Baby by Clean Bandit, Marina & Luis Fonsi – Bumbly is in the Top 20
Wade Cota – Work Song by Hozier – Not only has he never heard of California Dreaming. He thought he needed a passport to travel to Hawaii. And he thought Pearl Harbor was only a movie. The show is really playing up his naivete. Wade is sure he doesn’t have a chance. Everybody is better than he is! Bobby mentions how he won Dancing with the Stars competing against dancers who had more talent. True dat. Wade stumbled mightily in Hollywood. He needs to swing and hit a home run here. Eh. I don’t love this at all. But he remembers the words at least? I don’t care for his guttural tone. Luke says “I think you’re going to have to get on a plane, and go back home..and then get ready to come back to Hollywood.” He literally says, “That’s crazy! Why?” Katy explains that his voice is “instantly recognizable.” – Wade Cota is through to the Top 20
Only two spots left, but four contestants remain. They’ll go see the judges in pairs. Vintage Idol green mile…
Margie Mays – All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor – She comes from a family of physicians. She graduated from Stamford (!!!). She performs a slinky sexy version of the song. “I owned the stage, but vocally I wasn’t my best. – Margie Mays is ELIMINATED
Eddie Island – Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia – Bobby suggests not playing goofy all the time. He doesn’t listen to that advice. He lets loose totally on stage, but manages to deliver an original and unique vocal. – Eddie Island is in the Top 20
Katy reminds the singers that the show isn’t called “American Personality.” The judges feel that Eddie leans on his personality too much. She notes that Margie’s performance wasn’t as strong as in Hollywood. Margie is eliminated. Eddie is in the Top 20
Laine Hardy – Come Together by the Beatles – Of course, the show puts Laine in the same circumstance as last year. The last singer! OH MAN. He’s got a Beatles look going with the suit and skinny tie. Dang. Of course, by the time the Beatles recorded “Come Together” they didn’t look or dress like that anymore. Still STILL. He looks good. He sounds good. Laine has come a LONG LONG WAY since last year. Oh that guitar is NOT a prop. Ha. Katy is losing it. “We have made a monster!” – Laine Hardy is in the Top 20
Tyler Mitchell – Suitcase by Steve Moakler – He’s used to performing to only 20 or 30 people. Bobby is pals with Moakler–he calls him up for advice. “Know why your singing the song,” he suggests. So, Tyler dedicates the song to his wife. He LOVED performing for a big crowd. The country singer has the kind of voice…that would probably take him far on The Voice’s Team Blake. – Tyler is Eliminated
Here’s your reminder that these end of show pair ups are NOT EITHER OR. The judges decide the Top 20 and have no idea the order they’ll call up the contestants. Luke delivers the news. Tyler is eliminated. Laine is in the Top 20.
Assata Renay, Dakota Cohen, Shevonne Philidor, Cameron Goode, and Shelton Taylor were also eliminated but not shown during the episode.
TOMORROW: Top 20 Solos.
NEXT WEEK: Celebrity Duets in TWO parts. The Top 14 revealed on Monday.
Here’s YOUR American Idol Top 20
• Madison Vandenburg – Cohoes, NY
• Shawn Robinson – Atlanta, GA
• Eddie Island – Nashville, TN
• Evelyn Cormier – Claremont, NH
• Alyssa Raghu – Orlando, FL
• Ryan Hammond – Modesto, CA
• Raquel Trinidad – Tampa, FL
• Logan Johnson – Boise, ID
• Dimitrius Graham – Baltimore, MD
• Riley Thompson – Mabank, TX
• Walker Burroughs – Birmingham, AL
• Bumbly – New York, NY
• Ashley Hess – Fremont, CA
• Alejandro Aranda – Pomona, CA
• Laine Hardy – Livingston, LA
• Kate Barnette – Kennesaw, GA
• Uché – Sugar Land, TX
• Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon – Catonsville, MD
• Laci Kaye Booth – Livingston, TX
• Wade Cota – Phoenix, AZ