American Idol 2021 Recap Hollywood Week Duets Live Blog
American Idol 2021 Hollywood Week continues tonight with DUETS. The big “twist” will have the judges putting together the singing pairs, instead of contestants choosing for themselves.
Judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan are back, along with host Ryan Seacrest. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is the rule in the studio!
NO SPOILER TALK IN THE COMMENTS HERE. Keep spoiler discussion in the spoiler post. Thank you.
For fun, here is the rumored list of songs cleared for tonight’s duets (not really a spoiler, can discuss below).
Oh it looks like the AMBULANCE arrives tonight!
The remaining contestants are assembled outside as Ryan Seacrest mans a big board with the singers’ photos tacked up. He’ll call a name, the singer will pluck their card off the board, turn it over and find their duet partner. A bunch of people grab their cards. Now it’s time to rehearse.
Liahona Olayan & Laila Mach (Machhona)
Liahona is still upset after her brother got eliminated last night. She is duetting with someone outside her family for the first time. The judges will be roaming around the rehearsal spaces to help out the singers. Katy tries to console Lihana. She suggests that she sing FOR her brother.
Performance: Stay by Rihanna – Liahona plays electric piano. The two have very similar voices. Laila seems way more into it, more connected. Lionel and Katy are concerned that Liahona is not allowing herself to fight for the moment. They chalk it up to immaturity. “Do you want to be here,” Katy asks. “You’re not showing it.” She gives Liahona a BIG TOUGH LOVE LECTURE. She calls her selfish, “You took this whole ship down.” Ooooh. A commercial break, before Katy lectures some more, accusing her of sabotaging the pair.
Results: Nevertheless, Liahona and Laila both advance
Cameron Allen & Graham Defranco (Grahameron)
Luke mentors the pair, who have chosen “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles. He advises them to have fun on the chorus. “Song choice, Song Choice, Song Choice,” says Luke
Performance: Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles – Cameron’s voice is very watery, while Graham has more heft. The harmonies are pretty terrible.
Results: Cameron is eliminated, Graham advances
Beane & Kari Erickson (Dean & Carrie)
Katy wonders why the two chose “Watermelon Sugar.” Beane says they wanted something upbeat and fun, and they “landed on a doozy.”
Performance: Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles – We’re seeing Kari for the first time, and she’s a little pitchy but jazzy. Katy thinks the two didn’t deliver the song the way they were “supposed to.”
Results: Kari is eliminated, Beane is through to the next round
Right about now, Katy is %100 percent fed up with “Watermelon Sugar.”
Anthony Guzman & Adriel Carrion (Double AA)
Lionel comes to visit the boys. He has good tips, telling them to pay attention to the other when they sing. And that it’s OK to walk around the stage. These things seem kind of obvious, don’t they? But the singers probably need to hear it. Apparently the two are opposites, with Anthony the kilt wearing viking being the “loud one.”
In case you were wondering, Bobby’s role as mentor hasn’t been totally usurped. He works with the pair during a later rehearsal of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. “I’m so bored with this version,” Bobby says. He suggests that they change their song. OH NO THEY CHOOSE THE KATY HATED WATERMELON SUGAR. CHOICE.
Performance: Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles – Adriel makes weird faces when he sings. But he’s more dynamic than Anthony. Finally, however, the judges don’t mind the song choice. It’s definitely the liveliest version of the song so far. The judges are dancing along.
Results: Anthony and Adriel advance to the next round
Madison Watkins & Deshawn Goncalves
Madison and Deshawn gush that the judges could not have made a better choice putting them together. They are now BFFs!
Performance: Stay by Rihanna – Deshawn has a very pretty voice, and he sings with restraint. I like it. Madison is extremely powerful, but also has a beautiful head voice. Nice harmonies. This is a good performance. The two obviously have chemistry
Results: Madison and Deshawn both advance
Claudia Conway & Hannah Everhart (Rollin on Sass)
Hannah is NOT HAPPY WITH THE PAIRING. The producers are literally trolling, and I have to say it’s a little unfair. Hannah is from a small Mississippi town, and probably conservative. Claudia from New Jersey is openly anti-Trump. Things get off to a real rocky start. At one point, Hannah goes missing, and Claudia is pissed. Hannah thought it would be great to go “collect herself’ She’s not co-operating at all, claiming that she doesn’t get along with people her own age. “I’m an older soul,” she says. Katy joins them for rehearsal. She warns them not to overshadow each other. Hannah thinks Claudia is holding back. Katy is looking for teamwork
Performance: Sign of the Times by Harry Styles – They start off harmonizing together. They look at each other as they sing, but the performance feels detached. There are pitch problems too. Honestly, this was a bad pairing from the git go. The producers did it for the drama. Not fair to either singer. Luke thinks Hannah carried the load. But Katy thought she could have done better. Katy wanted more solos from the performance.
Results: Hannah advances to the next round CLAUDIA IS ELIMINATED. In the end, the two singers part as friends. Aw. She’s going to mail a chicken to Claudia.
Alex Miller & Emisunshine (Minor Harmony)
They play “I Walk the Line” for Luke, and he immediately tells them to change their song. He wants to hear some big notes, and wants to push Alex out of his comfort zone. They started workshopping another song, but quickly changed their minds. “It just didn’t work…the timing was off,” they both say. So Johnny Cash it is. Oh boy.
Performance: I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash – The problem with the song–it doesn’t give them moments. It’s what the judges want. But, actually, they both handle the song well. Emisunshine has an interesting tone! Luke isn’t too mad in the end, but he wants Alex to eventually throw a curveball, “pick a pop song,” he says. He’s pushing them both to be artists. Luke appreciated Emi’s higher register.
Results: Alex and Emisunshine advance to the next round
Murphy & Lizzie O’Very (A Different Breed)
“I couldn’t tell you why they put us together,” says Murphy. Indeed, Lizzie and her accordion comes across as the kind of uber-quirky artist that Idol would treat as a joke. Lionel tells the two to relax and have fun. The two have very different musical styles, but both seem to be beaming in from another planet. That’s not a bad thing!
Performance: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac – Both take the stage in bare feet. Hm…she sings her part in this very very high pitched head voice. It’s not pleasant. How did she get this far, really. Murphy seems out of his element here, far outside of his comfort zone. Props for doing a different thing with a familiar song, though. The judges give them a standing ovation, which I do not understand. However, it appears that they love Murphy, thanking Lizzie for pulling him into another direction.
Results: Murphy and Lizzie are both through to the next round.
Cassandra Coleman & Wyatt Pke (The Lass & The Lad)
The two, starstruck when Katy enters the rehearsal space, mess up their performance a little. Katy warns Cassandra to stop talking about her fear. Shake it off, she says. Don’t think about it. Breathe it out. Bobby counsels Cassandra about her nerves. “Be prepared,” he says.
Performance: Too Close by Alex Clare – Cassandra is the better technical singer. But both are very musical. Wyatt’s voice has a ton of personality and character. It’s odd, but the pairing works. Katy congratulates Cassandra for overcoming her fear. Also, Wyatt supported her, which Katy appreciated.
Results: Cassandra and Wyatt both advance.
Monica Leah & Miguela (The Deuce Formula) sing “Titanium” by Sia & David Guetta. The harmonies are off key. The judges do not look happy. Lionel calls it a “duel” and that’s what you don’t want to do he says. Monica and Miguela are eliminated.
Ronda Felton & Funke Lagoke (Melanated Queens)
Lionel helps the pair prepare. Ronda is feeling overwhelmed. “Get out of your head,” Lionel advises. By the end of the night, Ronda is crying with frustration. Funke, who has also struggled with self confidence, comforts her.
Performance: Tell Him by Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand – Funke has a very odd tone. I’m not sure if I like it or not. Ronda has a more conventional sound, and she’s very good. Just a natural talent. The harmonies are very pretty, when they aren’t pitchy! The judges can’t agree on a result. Lionel is the tie breaker.
AS LIONEL DESCRIBES A VERY UNEVEN PERFORMANCE FUNKE DROPS TO THE FLOOR. Luke says, “She busted her chin, ya’ll.” The ambulance siren is heard in the distance. AND OF COURSE COMMERCIAL. The EMT’s take her to the hospital. As Ronda bawls her eyes out, Lionel tells her that they both are going through. “I know it was traumatic,” he says. It turns out Funke only needs stitches.
Results: Ronda and Funke both advance to the next round.
Willie Spence & Kya Monee (Destin2Be)
Willie is a little freaked out to follow Funke and Ronda. But he’s collected himself.
Performance: Stay by Rihanna – Willie sure loves his Rihanna. He sang “Diamonds” for his audition. The pacing of the duet is slow. But the judges are literally going out of their minds during this. The audience is heard clapping throughout. I didn’t love the arrangement, but the two connected magnificently. Both are beautiful singers. Lionel calls it “divine.” Katy is crying. “You both are going through with flying colors,” Lionel says.
Results: Willie & Kya both advance
Ben Dobson & Henry Thompson (The Hair Bros) – Performance: Mercy by Shawn Mendes – They truly have big hair dos. The short snip doesn’t reveal much. Nevertheless, Ben & Henry are through to the next round
Jazzy Rose & RE’H (Similar Opposites) – Lionel says they were put together because they’re both “animated.” – Performance: Common by Maren Morris – Again, another little snip. But Lionel calls them incredible Jazzy Rose & RE’H are through to the next round.
Zach D’Onofrio & Sloan Simon (The Catie Turner Fan Club)
Sloan is a confident cheerleader. Zach is a “nerdy guy.” He says “it’s a lot of pep for me.” In rehearsal, Bobby warns Zach not to be Sloan’s backup singer.
Performance: “You Make my Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates – Interesting song choice. But I don’t think it works for Zach. He’s really awkward in this duet. Sloan is carrying this performance, barely. Katy thinks both singers need more experience. NO. No no no, Zach says as the judges deliver the bad news. Sads. Zack is crying. He’s already thinking about coming back in a few years. After two tries, it’s likely that the American Idol ship has sailed.
Results: Zack and Sloan are both eliminated.
Chayce Beckham & Christina Daugherty (Chasin Red)
Both are happy to be paired up. Within hours, they’ve become friends. Luke warns them not to overthink their performance. However, the last rehearsal is tough. It’s a breakup song. They’re trying hard to bring the difficult emotions to the surface. Maybe they are overthinking it.
Performance: July by Noah Cyrus – It sounds off at first, but when they hit the chorus, the two find their footing. They finally find the emotional center of the song. Luke calls the performance “very believable” and their voices, “very unique.” Luke says Chayce has to lean into his natural rasp and grit. He could be top 10. He didn’t think the song choice worked for Christina. Katy thinks the two are in love. “They don’t even know they’re in love.” Chayce cries after Christina is eliminated, so maybe Katy is on to something.
Results: Christina is eliminated, Chayce move on to the next round.
Alec Shaw & Sadie Leigh (The Squirrley’s) – Forgetting the words! Samantha Sharpe & Alana (Tea & Honey) – EVEN MORE FORGETTING THE WORDS. Samantha can’t hold it together. Alana does not look pleased.
Althea Grace & Camille Lamb (Buy-One-Get-One)
Another struggling duet. Althea isn’t feeling “the click” but doesn’t want to tell her partner that. Katy comes in to help. She asks each to describe the other’s strengths. Katy’s counseling does help to bring them together. But a call from Althea’s dad throws everything off. Her sick baby daughter, who just had a liver transplant, pulled out her feeding tube and is in the ER. She’s completely overwhelmed. The next day, baby seems to be doing much better. Katy comforts Althea, “Your baby won’t know how if you don’t dream.”
Performance: You Don’t Own Me by Leslie Gore – It’s hard to believe these two were not clicking, because this performance is terrific, from the arrangement, to the vocals to the bluesy guitar playing. They both deserve to go through. Katy calls them salt and pepper, “The sum of you together is better than the sum of you apart.” Katy adds “That’s what Queens do.” AND THEN, “Can you imagine if Taylor and I worked together, what we could do?” Ha. All the entertainment sites will run with that as a headline.
Results: Althea & Camille are through to the next round
Hunter Metts & Ava August (Ten-OC)
Luke says they both are talented in their lanes, but they shouldn’t forget to “showbizz” it up a bit. He warns them not to stay in the “safe zone.” It’s advice he seems to give all the singers. “I want to see you challenge yourself.”
Performance: Dancing on My Own by Robyn – The two deliver a delicate and emotional rendition of the song. It’s full of regret and sadness. It’s hard to believe Ava is only a teen. The judges insist they played it safe. Eh. This song doesn’t need big notes,
Results: Nevertheless, Hunter & Ava advance to the next round.
Grace Kinstler & Alyssa Wray (The BBG’s)
The show ends with two powerhouse singers performing together. Lionel is looking for them to finesse their performances. In other words, don’t turn it into a yell-a-thon. The two click right away. They won’t overthink it. The plan is to trust the gut.
Performance: Grenade by Bruno Mars – The two give each other enough space for the other to shine. But when it’s time to come together, they do. They don’t try to outsing each other. They hit one big magnificent note together. Pretty sure this is what the judges were talking about, when they urged singers to look for that moment, to go out on a limb and take risks. These gals do not hold back Bravo. Katy snatches HER OWN WIG. Heh.
Results: Grace and Alyssa are through to the next round.