American Idol goes remote tonight. The Top 20 perform from their homes across America. The judges, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Perry, will offer critiques from home. Bobby Bones mentors from home! Ryan Seacrest hosts from home. You get the idea. It’s 25 locations in all, and that’s not counting the band, backup singers and crew. It’s truly an Idol first.
Also, at the start of the show, fans can vote for their favorites. the Top 10 WILL be announced next week. Here’s how it works: There are 3 ways to vote: On the American Idol phone app, at AmericanIdol.com, and by texting the contestant’s number 21523. Ten votes per contestant per method! VOTING ENDS AT 9 AM ET Monday April 27.
Also, Idol Spoilers says the performance order will be: 1 Kimmy Gabriella, 2 Jovin Webb, 3 Franklin Boone, 4 Olivia Ximines, 5 Louis Knight, 6 Makayla Phillips, 7 Aliana Jester, 8 Faith Becnel, 9 Nick Merico, 10 Lauren Spencer Smith, 11 Cyniah Elise, 12 Francisco Martin, 13 Sophia James, 14 DeWayne Crocker, 15 Dillon James, 16 Arthur Gunn, 17 Julia Gargano, 18 Grace Leer, 19 Just Sam, 20 Jonny West
Katy is wearing a huge bottle of American Idol brand sanitizer. She cray! Ryan chats up the judges. Everyone trying to put the best face on the situation. What else can they do?
It’s worth noting that Idol producers explained that contestants would perform 3 times for the camera, and that the audio from the second, barring a catastrophe, would be used. The other “passes” were used edit in different angles.
Kimmy Gabriella – Leave Me Lonely by Ariana Grande ft Macy Gray – From Lakeland Florida – She performs outside on a porch with a backdrop of flowers. She sounds great. The sound quality is incredible. It’s almost too good. Great job from Kimmy. She gets a hug from her family afterward. Katy notes how different she looks. The hair straightening! Katy thinks she is beginning to know who she is. Luke is impressed by how well she navigates the notes. “You’re a world class singer,” he says. Lionel compliments her attitude, and how she pulls listeners in. “You took it to the next level,” he says. “I’m going to cry!” says Kimmy. – Text 21523 to 1
Jovin Webb – With A Little Help From my Friends by The Beatles (Joe Cocker) – From Mississippi – Jovin is one of my favorite singers, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Three backup singers croon in boxes on the side. Jovin is set up in his garage. Luke says his voice stops people in his tracks. “Great job.” Lionel calls it “Instant identity.” he adds, “A little barbecue sauce was needed.” Katy says “You’ve got texture galore in your voice.” – Text 21523 to 2
Franklin Boone – Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears – From North Carolina – Aw. His family off to the side cheering him on. Hm. This is an odd pick. I don’t love the arrangement. But I do love Franklin’s voice. His tone and delivery are gorgeous. But this rolling piano is distracting. Ick. Impressive money note, though. Lionel loved his voice. “You were true to yourself. Your presentation was right on point.” Katy is tearing up. And how rediculous, as she’s dressed as a hand sanitizer. He gave Luke chill bumps. “It was just beautiful to watch.” He calls it Top 10 worthy. – Text 21523 to 3
Olivia Ximines – Bad Guy by Billie Eilish – From Southern California – Poor Olivia has no room to dance. Lucky she’s got great vocals, so she’s good. Even without the moves, she brings the attitude. Olivia’s personality never stops. Katy is glad to hear the quality of her voice. That’s true. “You always bring the show,” says Luke. Lionel calls her a superstar. “Keep that going.” – Text 21523 to 4
Louis Knight – If The World is Ending by JP Saxe ft Julia Michaels – From Eastern Pennsylvania – Louis accompanies himself on electric piano. Interestingly, he doesn’t sing in an American accent like so many of his brethren. I like the British artists decorating his walls! His voice is very pretty. What a gorgeous falsetto. But this performance is a little dull. Louis may be the kind of artist who needs to sing his own compositions to really connect. Luke loved the song choice. “It gave us a clear glimpse of who you can be as an artist.” He calls it “artistic.” Lionel calls his voice and falsetto “steller.” Katy also loves the song choice. She warns him about sounding nasally. – Text 21523 to 5
Makayla Phillips – Greedy by Ariana Grande – from Temecula California – Makayla could be the next Ariana Grande, IF and when she creates her own style. She’s not distinctive yet. But man, she’s got the pipes. Lionel wants to let all 20 go through. He compliments her growth and professionalism. Katy thinks it looks so natural for her. But, she wasn’t crazy for the song choice. Luke liked the youthfulness and the fun. – Text 21523 to 6
Bobby Bones makes his first appearance. Next week, the theme will be “songs that remind them of home.” He’s going to have more to do when the field cuts to 10.
Aliana Jester – Run to You by Whitney Houston – From Fort Beach Florida – Heck no to this old fashioned Whitney Houston song. The room is inexplicably…filled with lamps. The set up is a perfect illustration of how no matter how hard Idol tried to make the playing field even, it can’t be 100 percent even. Her vocals are OK. She strains a bit on the top notes. But she doesn’t bring a new twist to a familiar song. Aw her family comes out to give her a big hug. Katy compliments Aliana’s power and passion. Luke had “chill bumps.” He loved it. Lionel thinks she pulled it off and made it her own song. – Text 21523 to 7
Faith Becnel – River by Bishop Briggs – From New Orleans – Faith has gotten short shrift throughout the competition so far. I get the sense she’s Katy’s favorite and maybe pushed for her. She’s got an odd voice, but there is something compelling about it. This is a very good song choice. Her best performance yet. Also, her home set up is simple, but kind of cool. Lionel loved her delivery. “Little miss personality can hit some big time notes,” says Luke. Katy felt Faith took their notes regarding controlling her vibrato. – Text 21523 to 8
Nick Merico – Hey There Delilah by Plain White T’s – From Woodland Hills California – This is a song people covered constantly back in the aughts. It’s pretty dated now. And it was always a bland pop song. Honestly, other than his teen idol looks, I have no idea why he advanced beyond more talented contestants. His teeth are very nice, though! Lionel loved the performance. Luke wanted him to “dig in a little more” AGREE. Katy call the subtleties of his voice beautiful. “One of your better performances. – Text 21523 to 9
Lauren Spencer Smith – Mama Knows Best by Jessie J – From Vancouver Island Canada! – I think Makayla is Lauren’s biggest competition? They are very alike. I wonder if Idol is looking for a big voiced female to win this season. Because there are quite a few in this Top 20. The song is a great showcase for her voice. But again, she doesn’t really distinguish herself here. Her DOGGOS ARE SO CUTE. Katy says “You’re growing during a quarantine!” Luke thinks her voice gets better and better. He calls her voice “amazin'” Lionel loves her attitude. – Text 21523 to 10
Cyniah Elise – Warrior by Demi Lovato – From Jonesboro Georgia – This is a very good performance. She manages to infuse the song with so much passion, even singing alone in her bedroom. That’s not easy to do. Luke has a stankylookface. Trying to trend on Twitter. Good luck on that. Luke thought it was a good song choice, but thinks she could connect more. “You have the voice of life,” says Lionel. Katy tells her to work that camera like she works her mirror at home. Hm. I liked that more than the judges did. – Text 21523 to 11
Francisco Martin – Teenage Dream by Katy Perry – From San Francisco California – Heh. He’s performing the Glee Darren Criss version! To be more specific, it’s the acoustic version that Darren sings live. It’s a good choice. Come to think of it, his voice is similar to Darren’s, but more passionate. There is something about Francisco. He may be a nervous wreck, but he allows himself to be vulnerable. His emotion is so earnest. It makes him likable. Katy thinks it really worked. She wanted more dynamics from him. But “you did it real justice” she says. Luke says, “You have the magic. I’m jealous!” Luke felt he took a chance, but made it his song. – Text 21523 to 12
Sophia James – Burning by Maggie Rogers – From California – Sometimes Sophia bites off more than she can chew. Her deep alto has a lovely texture, and tone. But she tries to do too much sometimes. An obviously musical singer, she needs to reign it in a little. Which, actually, she doing here. Although, that ended a little abruptly. For a moment, I thought her dad and brother were going to pick up instruments. But the song was over. Katy calls it “pleasing to hear.” Luke says, “You’re sneaky good,” but adds, looking down at the piano distracted her from connecting, a little bit. “You can melt hearts right away,” says Lionel. Katy calls her vocal runs “crazy.” – Text 21523 to 13
Dewayne Crocker – I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown – From Castle Rock Colorado – OK WHY IS THERE A CHRISTMAS TREE IN HIS LIVING ROOM. This is a song that needs a BIG stage to really work. Here, it sounds tinny and canned. Dewayne can sing, though. I wish he had picked a different song. Luke was impressed with his ending run. But it was a little too slick, he thought. Lionel agrees with Luke. He was looking for “that growl.” Katy felt it needed to be dirtier. It think it might have been better live on a stage. – Text 21523 to 14
Dillon James – Let it Be Me by Ray Lamontagne – From Bakersfield California – Generally, I’ve enjoyed Dillon’s performances. He’s got a special sound. But I’m not feeling a connection here. I think some of the kids are feeling kind of weird in these at-home settings. Lionel compliments his look, sound and attitude. “That was totally believable.” Luke is looking forward to him cutting a record. Katy mentions Gabby Barrett’s No. 1 record. “That could be your future next year. – Text 21523 to 15
Arthur Gunn – Lovin Machine by Wynonie Harris- From Wichita Kansas – OK. I was not expecting honky tonky from Arthur. Again, it’s a song that is better on a big stage. But performing on his front porch, he’s still manages to bring it. Here’s an artist who truly embodies every song he sings. Katy says, “You’re giving us such a vibe.” She advises him to look at the camera. Lionel thinks his shyness is his secret weapon. Luke says all he needs is to realize his ginormous talent. – Text 21523 to 16
Julia Gargano – Human by Christina Perri – From Staten Island New York – Accompanying herself on electric piano, I gotta say she’s one of my favorites. Her tone is so rich and deep and she conveys emotion effortlessly. Beautiful phrasing. Aw. Mama gives her a big kiss after she finishes. Luke loves hearing the nuances in her voice. “My brain is scrambled right now.” Lionel calls her a “stylist.” He added, “You delivered the goods.” Katy thinks she checks all the boxes. – Text 21523 to 17
Grace Leer – Cry by Faith Hill – From Nashville TN – Grace brings some country 90s realness here. I wish she had sung a more traditional/Americana tune, but that song pick really showcased her voice. Lionel says Grace rose to the occasion. Katy says “You rode that bull real well.” Luke thought the beginning of the song lacked, but halfway through, she brought the big notes. – Text 21523 to 18
Just Sam was the only Top 20 contestant to stay in Los Angeles after producers sent everybody home, Ryan explains. And thank heavens. She was living with her grandmother in a Harem project. It’s a VERY dangerous place to be right now, health wise. I hope her grandma is staying safe.
Just Sam – I Believe by Fantasia – From Los Angeles, California – Oh no. She isn’t singing Fantasia’s season 3 winners song is she? Hoo boy. This corny song. Fantasia pulled it off. Can Sam? She does a nice job with it. But I don’t think the song choice did her justice. Katy is so excited to see her flourish. Luke compliments her growth. Sam begins to cry. Lionel calls her inspirational. “I love you guys so so much,” Just Sam says. She gets extra chat with the judges. Lionel compliments her hair. – Text 21523 to 19
Jonny West – What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong – From Studio City California – He’s quarantining with his girlfriend, Top 40 contestant, Margie Mays. To be perfectly honest, I’m not a fan of this song. But Jonny puts his own twist on his cover, switching up the melody in places, delivering an intimate performance. Fans of the song might not like him toying with the song like that, but I do. Jonny’s style is so distinctive, he’s got star quality. Luke thinks he can take his career wherever he wants to take it. “You have it all,” says Lionel. Katy loves his subtleties. – Text 21523 to 20