American Idol continues the competition, once again with everybody at home. The Top 20 learn their fates as the Top 10 OR 11 is revealed. Will the judges–Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan–use their one and only save of the season tonight, from the comfort of their homes? Bobby Bones mentors from his home in Nashville, while Ryan Seacrest hosts from behind the ORIGINAL American Idol desk in Los Angeles.
Fans can vote for their favorites, beginning at the Top of the show. 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 OPENS AT THE END OF THE SHOW 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 advances to next week, click on the link. HOWEVER DO NOT POST SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS. INSTANT BANNING WILL RESULT! There are those who like the surprise. That would have included me if I wasn’t running this live blog. Please be considerate.
Hello American Idol season 11 winner Phillip Phillips! The show opens with the singer crooning his hit coronation single “Home.” The performance is cut with glimpses into the home lives of the contestants. GOOD WINNERS SONG. Because the theme tonight is HOME.
Hoo boy. Katy is dressed as a big roll of toilet paper. I guess last week’s hand sanitizer deal wasn’t HUMOROUS ENOUGH. However, unlike last week when she spent the entire two hours in costume, she’s changing out of her silly outfit. (And when she does change? Pregnant Katy’s boobs are HUGE. Ha.
Who has made the Top 10? Ryan announces that the judges MAY save one singer tonight. With only 10 (or 11) singers performing, Bobby Bones has time to mentor the singers on camera this week.
In no particular order…the first person to make it through to next week’s show is. Louis Knight! He’s so emotional. “My heart rate is through the roof,” he says, “I’m so honored to be part of it all.”
Louis Knight – In My Place by Coldplay – We see Louis chatting with his family, all in quarantine together. He delivered pizza to doctors and nurses recently. He calls the song he picked a lovely reminder of home. The arrangement is very similar to the original. Nevertheless, it’s a good song pick for his vocal style, even if it sounds a bit karaoke. This week, he’s outside on his family porch. He doesn’t even need a wind machine. Heh. Katy remarks that his version made her escape to a better time. Luke wasn’t completely blown away, but liked his song choice. “Play the camera as much as you can,” advises Lionel. text “5” to 21523
Oh. There is a Top 7 next week. Hm. Also, we’ve got fan videos! Kelsey says while watching her fav Louis on TV: “I’m not crying, you are!”
After the nationwide vote, the next person that makes it into the Top 10 IS Julia Gargano. “Holy Cannoli!” she screams.
Julia Gargano – New York State of Mind by Billy Joel – Julia gives us a tour of her home and we meet her “famiglia.” I love this girl. She’s from New York, and talks about how devastating the coronavirus has been in her hometown. She’s singing one of her family’s favorites, Billy Joel. I love her deep raspy alto. She could ditch a few of the adlibs, but Julia is owning it here. She has evokes a real city girl vibe to the song. She’s somebody I wouldn’t want to cross. But she tempers that attitude. She’s tough and sweet at the same time. The very pregnant Katy struggles to her feet, she’s so impressed. Luke calls it his very favorite performance of the season. “Great job!” Lionel adds, “You made it your song. “I’m so so happy for you!” Katy calls it one of the best performances of the season. “You grew to a very high level. text “17” to 21523
Each judge teamed up with an “industry heavyweight” to talk about what it takes to make it in show business. Katy chats with Charlie Puth. He explains how he found his “artist identity.” He started as a jazz pianist. “It took two years to make that happen,” he says. He chats a little about his collaboration on “I Hope” with Gabby Barrett. His advice to the contestants: Don’t pretend to be anyone else.
After the nationwide vote, the next contestant making into the Top 10 is Jovin Webb! Yay!
Jovin Webb – Voodoo by Allen Stone – Jovin says stuff at home has been “chaotic.” He adds, “This process is a job!” His very cute son is in the frame. He’s had to figure out how to work with his kid underfoot. It’s helped to bring his song into the process–the work together to unpack equipment and build the stage. “Make some memories,” says Bobby. Jovin wants to perform a song with New Orleans flavor. And once again, the soulful singer delivers an effortless performance. He makes it all seem almost TOO easy. He’s got the groove and sensuality going on right here. He’s playing that camera. “I love it!” says Lionel, “Old school, but fabulous…it’s magic.” Katy was “at a bar in Nola having an extra dirty Martini…I escaped with you.” Luke notes pitch problems, but not this week, “You did not hit one bad note.” text “2” to 21523
After the nationwide vote, the next person to make it into the Top 10 is…Grace Leer! Her mom is so excited as Grace tears up.
Grace Leer – Somewhere Over the Rainbow – She’s in Danville, California with her family. Her mom is a physician’s assistant, wearing her scrubs for the shot! Her neighborhood gave her a social distancing parade! Grace is the only country artist remaining on Idol. But she’s not singing a country song this week. She picked the classic “Over the Rainbow” because she sang it in 3rd grade. However, she does give it a twang, as a pedal steel plays in the background. She performs a very pretty version of the song. I’m not out of my seat, but it’s nice. She’s surrounded by beautiful flowers. The kids have mostly come up with lovely settings to perform in. Katy calls it “big and bold.” Luke compliments her “sweet spot…you just showed America that you have a big big voice.” Lionel reminds her to stay in her lane “if country is your aim.” Her neighbors, on the other side of the fence, clapped for her! text “18” to 21523
More results. The next Top 10 contestant is Jonny West! “Oh shoot!” he says. Girlfriend Margie Mays gives him a big hug.
Jonny West – Faithfully by Journey – He’s quarantining with Margie in her Los Angeles apartment. He calls it “cozy.” Hoo boy. In his chat with Bobby, Jonny talks about how he gets “crowded with thoughts.” Bobby thinks he’s done a good job centering himself and adjusting his attitude. This is an unexpected song choice. It’s a big, booming power ballad from the 80’s. But as he always does, Jonny, manages to twist the song into something that’s familiar, but also very different. This guy sure knows how to flip a cover. The song is a bit out of his range in spots, but overall, his rendition is very affecting. Luke finds his effortlessness and ability to phrase a song, remarkable. “Great performance,” he says. Lionel says, “You’re on your way to something really big…you “Jonnyrized” it.” Katy says, “You’ve got me on the Alejandro level now.” text “20” to 21523
Now, Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker talk about what it takes to become a superstar. IT’S HOOTIE. Heh. Darius urges the kids to get out in front of audiences to build up confidence. Ironic, I know. “I’m trying to make that last person in the last row think they are sitting up front.” Again: “You gotta be you.” Luke adds, “Perform like your hero is watching.” Luke and Darius are golf buddies!
And now, after your vote, the next person in your Top 10 is Sofia James! Her dad and brother give her a big hug. “I was not expecting this! She cries.
Sofia James – In My Room by The Beach Boys – She calls her family “the wack pack.” “It’s not my Instagram!” Sofia tells her brother “It’s a blog for American Idol!” What!?! Heh. Sofia has experienced self doubt along the way. But making it this far, gives her confidence. I’ve been hot and cold on Sofia, I love this song choice. And I love the way she jazzes up the arrangement. It’s a very creative take. I hope Brian Wilson likes this. The song is very personal to him. Woah. She turns it into a Broadway song. When the Beach Boys jukebox musical happens, this arrangement should be a thing! After she finishes, her brother hands her some flowers. Lionel says, “You’ve done the work. I love your delivery from top to bottom.” Katy calls it “Upper echelon…you really brought it with that interpretation.” Luke calls her “magic to watch.” text “13” to 21523
After over 36 MILLION VOTES! Arthur Gunn is safe! He wants to thank all of his fans for getting hims this far.
Arthur Gunn – Country Roads by John Denver – He’s at home in Wichita making Nepalese food with his family. He picks “Country Roads” because it reminds him of home. Bobby notes that it’s a “feel good” song. “There is a brighter side to everything,” Arthur responds. Has this song been covered by a reggae artist? Or has Arthur created a reggae-fied version on his own? It’s a pleasant, mid-tempo version of the classic 70’s folk tune. Not a favorite by Arthur so far, but solid. He’s listened to the judges, keeping his eyes open this week. Katy felt more connected to the performance, noting how he’s interacting with the camera now. Luke loves the reggae style, a perfect showcase, he says. Lionel calls it all believable, “I love what you did.” text “16” to 21523
The next person to make it into the Top 10 is Just Sam! Of course she’s crying. She’s always crying! Aw. She misses her grandma. She facetimes her to deliver the great news.
Just Sam – Grandma’s Hands by Bill Withers – Sam stayed in Los Angeles after the Top 20 were sent home to quarantine. She did it to keep her elderly grandmother safe from Covid. She has her Bible. She’s going to sing “Grandma’s Hands” in her honor. She’s got the cheapest looking background of most contestants. But who cares. This artist compels whatever stage she takes. I love her tone. She’s got a unique sound, that she never overuses. She doesn’t need bells and whistles or yelly notes to sound heartfelt. Her delivery is so simple. Luke loves her richness and the way her voice holds up. Lionel loves to see her smile now. “I’m so happy and proud of you.” The rendition reminded Katy of being in church and getting lost in worship. text “19” to 21523
Lionel Richie and his “dear friend” Stevie Wonder chatted about the art of songwriting. “You have to be committed,” he stresses. He also talks the importance of staying grounded and humble, before treating the audience to a few bars. “You have to be a character you are creating,” Stevie says about writing a great song. “Nothing great comes easy.”
The next person to make it into the Top 10….Dillon James! “I was not expecting that…I didn’t even think I would make it this far,” he says, adding. “Don’t give up hope.”
Dillon James – Yesterday by the Beatles – He’s been playing and writing songs every day in quarantine. Dillon shares in his chat with Bobby that he loves being quarantined with his family. Hm. This version is a little too twangy and nasally for me. I wish he’d done a more straight up folk arrangement of the song. He speeds up the tempo, too. I am probably just fussy about Beatles’ covers. There needs to be more drama and/or emotion. “Be yourself,” advises Lionel. Katy wanted him to give more “breath” to his performance. Luke agrees with Katy, while stressing that he appreciates his artistry. Luke advises him to slow it down next time, and allow the lyrics to take shape and form. Exactly. Dillon sped through that performance. I don’t know if he’s nervous without an audience, but both of Dillon’s at home performances have been dry. He’s not connecting.
ONE MORE SPOT! After the nationwide vote, taking the final spot in the Top 10, Francisco Martin! I’m shaking right now, he says.
Francisco Martin – Falling Like the Stars by James Arthur – He’s living with his parents and his ADORABLE DOGGO. His mom, a nurse, is working the Covid-19 front lines. Francisco worries about her, as he does. His anxiety levels are rising again. Keeping busy at home has been helping. It’s a good song choice for Francisco. He doesn’t really change the arrangement. But he’s fearless when it comes to vulnerability. He’s not afraid to lose himself in a song. It’s the opposite of what Dillon did before. He’s singing his little heart out here. Aw! His family made signs. Katy does a fake crying thing, “Yeah sure it’s hormones! But it’s believability too.” Luke says, “You really know how to get emotion out of a song.” Lionel gives a shout out to his mom. Lionel calls him a “true talent.” text “12” to 21523
WILL THE JUDGES USE THEIR ONE AND ONLY SAVE? YES THEY WILL. Katy says it was difficult, but they have picked…Mikayla Phillips! She’s crying. Katy thinks she can give the others competition. She’s got to pick good songs, she says.
Makayla Phillips – House that Built Me by Miranda Lambert – She’s been homeschooling since 2nd grade. Her dad is a firefighter. He’s still going to work on his regular schedule. “It’s kind of scary” she says. She wants to show fans her “sentimental” side. Smart to pick a song that’s not all about belting or being sassy. She’s no Miranda, but she proves that she can take it down a notch, show tenderness, and still display her vocal and interpretive skills. “This has been my dream ever since I was little,” she says. Luke is so glad she came back. Lionel calls her “a star.” Katy was leaning into her performance. “I felt you were singing directly to me.” Katy appreciates that she took their notes from last week. text “6” to 21523
Makayla Phillips – Judges Save
Kimmy Gabriella, Franklin Boone, Olivia Ximines, Aliana Jester, Faith Becnel, Nick Merico, Lauren Spencer Smith, Cyniah Elise, DeWayne Crocker.