American Idol continues the competition, once again with everybody at home. The Top 11 learn their fates as the Top 7 ares revealed. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan critique the contestants from the comfort of their own homes. Bobby Bones mentors from his home in Nashville, while Ryan Seacrest hosts from behind the ORIGINAL American Idol desk in Los Angeles.
Tonight, the contestants will sing TWO SONGS. One from the Disney catalog, the other an ode to their mother/mother figure. American Idol spilled the Disney catalog earlier today. ALSO! Idol announced today that a TOP 5 will advance to next week’s finale!
Here’s how to vote: 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 OPENS MID SHOW AFTER THE TOP 7 ARE REVEALED and STAYS OPEN UNTIL 9 AM ET TOMORROW
Also, because there are no live shows, and the results were taped earlier this week. Yes. We have spoilers. If you just can’t wait to find out who made the Top 7, click on the link. HOWEVER DO NOT POST SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS. INSTANT BANNING WILL RESULT! There are those who like the surprise. Please be considerate.
OK DANG. I’m getting a little misty eyed as first responders and health workers open the show with “THIS IS AMERICAN IDOL.”
Reigning Idol winner Laine Hardy performs tonight.
The first person into the Top 7 is…Arthur Gunn. He can’t believe! He thanks all the fans who voted for him
Arthur Gunn – Kiss the Girl from The Little Mermaid – Arthur plays around with the melody. The Disney classic still has an Island flavor, but with a folkie touch. Usually covers of this song are jokey, done as a throwaway. But his interpretation is dead earnest, and I like it! The band arrangement is also very nice. Good job. Oh gosh. Katie is dressed as Dumbo’s mother, from the Disney Singalong which aired at 7 pm. She’s also got her sweet pooch on her lap. “You felt really relaxed, I really loved it,” she says. Luke calls him a truly massive recording artist. Lionel loves the way he sells his identity. text “16” to 21523
The next person into your Top 7 is Just Sam. “Thank you Jesus!” she says.
Just Sam – A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella – She’s got a Disney background with dancing animated figures behind her. Sam’s voice is clear, beautiful, and sweet. She conveys the song’s hope and optimism so simply. She could adlib the heck out of this song. But she never over-sings–that’s her beauty. She always delivers. Sam says she’s always dreamed of having a Cinderella moment. Luke says her voice “just holds up at every level of her range.” Lionel says, “We watched you grow up right in front of us. You are a star.” Katie wanted a little more. No. I thought that was perfect. She reminds Sam that Jennifer Hudson came in 7th and eventually got an Oscar. True. But Sam deserves to place higher than that! text “19” to 21523
Next…Jonny West is safe! “I’m very moved, I’m speechless!” he says.
Jonny West – Almost There from the Princess and the Frog – Jonny does his thing with “Almost There.” The song is a little boring, though. His interpretation is original, but I wish he picked a song with more dynamics. Lionel calls him “Our casual assassin.” Katy compares Jonny to Paul Simon, Randy Newman and Billy Joel. Hm. Jonny is good, no need for hyperbolic praise. Luke likes that the Disney catalog forces people down a path they aren’t used to. He’s happy Jonny chose the right song. text “20” to 21523
After the nationwide vote, the singer to make it through to the next round….Louis Knight!
Louis Knight – Can You Feel the Love Tonight from Lion King – Louis is out on his back porch at night. The backdrop he created is very magical! Great lighting. Louis picked the perfect song. It fits his sweet tone, and he feels invested in what he’s singing this week. His best performance in a few weeks. Katy got lost in the performance. She’s sure he’ll be a massive star. “Lean in vocally in your next performance.” Luke loved the tenderness, but felt “It got a little linear after three quarters of the song.” Lionel thought he drifted out a little, “Stay focused,” he says. It’s true that Louis has struggled through these at home performances, but I thought this week was his best so far. text “5” to 21523
And Julia Gargano is the next singer through to the finale!
Julia Gargano – Beauty and the Beast – The verse is a little low for her. Her vocal is getting a bit lost. But she picks it up on the chorus. She’s adding a ton of jazz and R&B flavor to the song. I’m not sure the hard core fans of this massively classic song will appreciate how she’s changed it up. It’s kind of a smooth jazz version? I didn’t love that. Luke and his doggo! “Beauty and the Beast right here!” he jokes. Luke agrees with me, that the song was too low in spots. Lionel makes the same point about the problematic lows. Katy says her star quality is already at 10. She liked the super soulful arrangement, but also agrees with Lionel and Luke on the lower register. YIKES. I love Julia. Hopefully, she comes out strong on her second song. text “17” to 21523
And the next singer to move on to the Top 7 is Francisco Martin! Aw. He’s practically in tears. He’s so sincere.
Francisco Martin – You’re In My Heart from Tarzan – An animated Tarzan swings behind him. He sings an earnest, pop-rock version of the song. Francisco doesn’t usually do upbeat. He admits to the judges that he enjoyed himself during the performance–and it showed. Lionel calls it the “transformation of Francisco.” He notes the singer’s confidence. Oh man. Katy compares him favorably to Louis Knight “You gave me what I wanted from Louis,” she says. Are the judges tossing Louis under the bus tonight? Hm. text “12” to 21523
After the nationwide vote, the final person to make it into the Top 7 is…Dillon James! He’s speechless.
Dillon James – Our Town from Cars – Dillon is more settled this week. Last time, he rushed through “Yesterday.” But now, he’s back to his folk roots. He picks the perfect song, and finally CONNECTS to what he’s singing. I think these at home performances have been a big adjustment for several contestants, including Dillon. Katy is so happy he took the judges’ notes “I’m proud of you.” Luke says it felt great from top to bottom. “You were a storyteller, a great artist,” says Lionel. Definitely his best At Home performance by far. text “15” to 21523
Eliminated tonight: Grace Leer, Jovin Webb, Makayla Phillips, and Sophia James.
Laine Hardy sings “Life is a Highway” from Cars – Too bad Laine isn’t promoting one of his new songs. But then, Maddie Poppe was forced to sing a strained, awkward duet with her boyfriend Caleb Lee Hutchinson last year rather than promote HER new music. So, equal opportunity, here. Ryan says he’ll be back for the finale. Probably not singing, I’ll bet.
Mother’s Day Dedications
Arthur Gunn – Hey Ma by Bon Iver – Arthur waxes poetic about how he loves his mother. She bought his first guitar, and has supported his musical aspirations all the way. Arthur reminds me so much of Phillip Phillips. He knows who he is as an artist, and brings his vibe to every song he covers. It’s so cute how he directs the chorus “Hey ma” to his mother watching him on the coach. Luke loves the high part of this voice “so signature,” he says. “You’re spoiling us, you never have a bad performance. Lionel thinks he could sing the phone book. “No matter what you sing, it sounds like Arthur Gunn.” Katy is already crying over Mother’s day dedications. “You are already making me believe that you are a professional touring artist.”
Cynthia Erivo, Lauren Daigle, Rascal Flatts will perform on next week’s finale. Plus, Katy and Luke perform their latest singles. PLUS DRUMROLL..Lionel will perform “We Are The World,” the song with Michael Jackson, to celebrate the tune’s 35th anniversary. “It’s time to put that message out there” he says.
Just Sam – I Turn to You by Christina Aguilera – Her mother was incarcerated most of her life. She and her grandmother would visit her in jail every Sunday. She’s so grateful for her grandmother who “loves me like any mother.” She’s in LA to keep her grandmother safe. She really misses her. What I appreciate from Sam is how she takes these big songs, and doesn’t oversing them. Yet, she manages to imbue them with feeling. Less is more. Her phrasing is effortless and easy. Lionel calls her the “angel” in this group. “I’m going to papa Lionel for the rest of your life,” he says. I hope so! Katy calls her “Sam the star…you a testimony and victory in your voice.” Luke calls her midrange smooth as butter. She hopes to inspire all the little girls who want their dreams to come true.
Jonny West – Amazing Grace – He dedicates his song to his mom, Michelle. He’s singing Amazing Grace. He changed the words a little, to reflect her faith in God. Her mom was adopted, and had a tough life. He left Los Angeles to spend the rest of quarantine with his parents in Marietta GA. “I couldn’t ask for a better Mother’s day than having my Jonny boy.” He literally writes a new version of the song, that recalls memories of his childhood. Only the familiar chorus stays the same. This is a big risk. I imagine there are folks who hate their hymns messed with. Still, he tells his mother’s life story. It’s touching, creative rendition. Katy calls him original and talented. She compares him to Alejandro Aranda. “I think you should win this competition,” she says. Luke says, “You have God give song writing talent.” Lionel calls the song a challenge. “You have a future in the business. Enjoy the ride.”
Louis Knight – You’ve Got A Friend by Carole King and James Taylor – Louis admits to being a “mummy’s boy.” She bought him his first piano. She’s been in the audience for every performance. He’s written a letter to her for mother’s day. She’s crying as she eats her eggs. Having his mother as an audience, helps him to open up emotionally. Honestly, I find the original mid-tempo renditions kind of boring. (UNPOPULAR OPINION I KNOW. I like Carole’s version more than James’). Luke praises the performance, saying, that he finally gave the dynamics he was looking for. Lionel agrees, “It was exactly what you needed to do. You have a career here.” He made Katy cry “You gave us the wingspan we were looking for.” Louis redeemed! His two performances this week were his best since Hollywood. Fun fact: He made his mum those eggs she cried over.
Julia Gargano – Sweetest Devotion by Adele – Her family is super close knit. Julia put together a big car parade to wish her a happy mother’s day. She and her mom look so much alike! It’s a much better song choice for Julia. It’s in her range and allows her to soar on the chorus. I’m glad this is her last song, because she’s killing it. Katy is so moved by their relationship “I love hearing your voice expanding” through all the genres. “You are gonna fly girl.” Luke calls the performance “bada**” Lionel says she rode the pocket, “You were in that moment…great job.” Julia and her mother are so sweet together! After that terrific performance, Julia may sing in the finale after all.
Francisco Martin – River by Leon Bridges – Francisco cooked a special breakfast for his mom. It’s funny, because these bits were taped earlier this week. She becomes emotional while reading a heartfelt letter he wrote for her. “She’s always there for us,” he says. “I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for her.” Francisco’s first song was solid. But here, he sits right in his pocket, both musically and emotionally. It’s one of his best performances of the season. And momma’s lap dog wins all the awards! Katy says the Mother’s Day songs are separating the pack. “It was so heartfelt what you did.” Luke thinks it was better than the original. “I would buy that right now.” Lionel loved that his confidence is front and center. “You’re no longer in your head…you have a career.”
Dillon James – Hang on, Hang on by Amos Lee – Dillon writes to his mom that he’s grateful she helped guide him to a new life. “You saved me,” he says, of how his mom helped him get clean and sober 2 years ago. Dillon is really stepping up this week. It’s another heartfelt performance from the singer. Great song pick. This is the kind of music I imagine Dillon writing and recording–not sped up countrified versions of Beatles’ songs! Luke admires how he’s gotten to the other side of his struggles. “You are going to go very far,” he says. Lionel calls him a “fabulous inspiration,” to kids struggling with the same issues. Katy thinks he feels lighter, and freer than when she first met him.
Advanced and will sing for your votes
1. Arthur Gunn
2. Dillon James
3. Francisco Martin
4. Jonny West
5. Julia Gargano
6. Louis Knight
7. Just Sam
1. Grace Leer
2. Jovin Webb
3. Makayla Phillips
4. Sophia James