American Idol 2021 Recap: Top 12 Oscar Songs, Top 9 Revealed (Video)

AMERICAN IDOL – "414 (Oscar Nominated Songs)" – The top 12 contestants perform Oscar®-nominated songs in hopes of securing America’s vote into the top nine on an all-new episode of "American Idol," airing live coast-to-coast on SUNDAY, APRIL 18 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Eric McCandless) MADISON WATKINS, AVA AUGUST, BEANE, HUNTER METTS

American Idol 2021 Recap Top 12 Oscar Nominated Songs, Top 9 Revealed  

Tonight the Top 12 will sing for your votes in REAL TIME. American Idol begins at 8 pm ET across ALL TIME ZONES. Viewers will vote together, and at the end of the episode, a TOP 9 will be revealed.  After, the singers will perform for the judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. And for your vote! Ryan Seacrest hosts, Bobby Bones serves as in-house mentor. 

American Idol 2021 Spoilers: Top 12 Song Spoilers
American Idol 2021: Full Season 19 Schedule (UPDATED 4/18)


How Do I Vote for American Idol 2021 Contestants? Find Out Here

Alyssa Wray – Text 3 to 21523
Grace Kinstler – Text 12 to 21523
Willie Spence – Text 11 to 21523
Deshawn Goncalves – Text 7 to 21523
Cassandra Coleman – Text 2 to 21523
Caleb Kennedy – Text 22 to 21523
Casey Bishop – Text 24 to 21523
Madison Watkins – Text 14 to 21523
Beane – Text 15 to 21523
Hunter Metts – Text 23 to 21523
Ava August – Text 21 to 21523
Chayce Beckham – Text 18 to 21523 

The show kicks off with Lionel Richie singing his Oscar nominated song, “Say You Say Me.” HAND WAVING. Lionel, is situated on a platform as if he’s floating in the air. The video for this performance went up immediately after the performance. It’s the clue that Lionel taped the song earlier.

After the performances, the judges make a grand entrance. THERE’S LUKE HE’S BACK. Isn’t somebody diagnosed with COVID supposed to quarantine longer? 

Grace Kinstler – Happy by Pharrell Williams (from Despicable Me 2) – Bobby Bones mentors the contestants this week. The two talk about Grace taking a big risk with Happy. She also talks about finding pride in her body and how she looks. Fans wondered about the arrangement of this pop song. And, she turns it into a bluesy vamp. There is plenty of room for runs and big notes. This is not a disaster. It probably smart for her to change it up this week. Also smart, she saves the big vocals for the end. A great show opener from Grace. Katy is wondering what kind of record Grace will make? Who are you as an artist? She asks. Uhm. I don’t understand the question. Katy wants her to sing more “iconic” songs. Luke admires her confidence and bravado. Luke is challenging her to lock in to who she is as an artist. Lionel also compliments her confidence. “We’re looking for identity,” says Luke. This criticism is dumb. Are they trying to bus her?

Ava August – City Of Stars by Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone (from La La Land) – Bobby tells her she’s an artist beyond her years. But he wants her to relax and be the kid that she is. Bobby takes her for a “driving lesson” in a golf cart. And then Ava turns around and sings a very serious song. The rendition is very pretty, although I wish she did more with the rhythm and phrasing. But her performance has moments. Her head voice is lovely. Luke compliments her mature, elegant moments. “Lean on the fun and the teenybopper stuff, but what you just gave me is incredible.” Lionel marvels at her identity, poise and maturity. “I love what you’re doing.” Katy agrees with Bobby, “I also want to see you be 15.” She wanted Ava to move, become ethereal.” Geez, she’s literally getting mixed messages from Bobby and the judges. I agree overall with Katy. Her vocal was pure and gorgeous, put she needed to bring some youthful verve to that performance. Still love her, though.

Caleb Kennedy – On the Road Again by Willie Nelson (from Honeysuckle Rose) – Bobby and Caleb go fishing. He misses his momma. Also, he confesses that he has a weird thing about his eyes, which is why he wears a hat. And while he lost the hat last week, he’s donned a cowboy hat for this week. Oh. Other than a few vocal flourishes, this version of the Willie classic is karaoke. However, I appreciate the way he engages with the band. He seems to be having fun up there. Lionel wonders if Caleb, at 16, has ever been on the road. “If you keep this up, you’ll be on the road for a very long time.” Katy admits she has a wonk eye too. Her fans love it! She calls Caleb’s performance “entertainment.” Luke calls it his best performance “from top to bottom.

Hunter Metts – Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová (from Once) – Bobby remembers Hunter being a bundle of nerves in the beginning. Bobby has him rehearse his song in front of a mirror, to help him look more confident.  It’s a perfect song for Hunter. I love his trembly tone. And he always delivers a song with sincerity. I’m always on his side. He hits the high notes in his falsetto beautifully. His phrasing on the last verse was perfect. But then he becomes emotional and allows it to overcome him, forgetting lyrics RIGHT AT THE END. He looks embarrassed. C’mon dude, you HAD THAT. He’s crying. LIKE REALLY CRYING. He’s crying so hard. Katy tells him it was beautiful, he connected, he was so involved he forgot where he was. Luke calls his performance intense. “You took me on a crazy ride….you could do no wrong in that moment.” He compliments his falsettos. HUNTER IS STILL CRYING. I’m cynical, and in this moment I WANT TO MOTHER HIM. He’s getting a gazillion votes tonight. Ryan asks him what he’s thinking “I wish I didn’t mess up.”  OMG Graham DeFranco is with Hunter’s family!

Madison Watkins – Run to You by Whitney Houston (from The Bodyguard) – Madison feels confident in her song choice, although it’s Whitney. She’s been singing the song for a long time. I’m not a huge fan of these big old fashioned diva songs, at least as singing show picks. But if anyone can pull it off, Madison can. And indeed, she can SANG. But this performance feels sooooo Miss America. The judges gave Grace a hard time about not knowing who she is as an artist, but at least she took a risk? It’s not 1994 anymore. Luke calls the performance “solid.” He agreed with her being the Judges wildcard. “You stepped up to the plate.” Katy calls it an “A level performance.” Katy LIKES this song choice. “Don’t take these crazy chances” she says. What A DUMB TAKE.

Chayce Beckham – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams (from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) – Chayce wants to show America that they haven’t made a mistake voting him through. I don’t love this song choice. Maybe because I’m not a big fan of mid-tempo power ballads. KATY LOOKS SO HAPPY. She’s thrilled with the contestants who choose predictable and mediocre songs! Having said all that, Chayce delivered that performance without a flaw. Lionel thought he found himself in the second half. I agree with that. The beginning was dull, but he stepped it up at the end. Katy thinks he delivered the song authentically. Luke thinks he’s now the front runner “in this thing.” Aw. His dog Festus is wearing a t shirt.

Beane – (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (from Dirty Dancing) – Beane notes that he doesn’t have the typical “American Idol showstopper voice.” Beane talks about being deaf in his right ear. He starts off accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Then he jumps up, and the song turns into the recognizable dancy version. He does some different things with the phrasing. He doesn’t have the best voice in the competition, but he is the most musical and most creative. I rolled my eyes at the song choice, but I kinda dig this. I don’t think it’ll get him over the finish line, however. Oh geez. Now she’s congratulating Beane for changing it up, and tells him to keep doing that. She was afraid his version would be cheesy, but it was not (I agree).

Because they spent so much time with Hunter, the judges are RUSHING through their comments.

Alyssa Wray – This is Me by Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble (from The Greatest Showman) – She sang the song her junior year in high school. I’m super bored with this song on singing shows, but Alyssa does a sweet version of the song. And she doesn’t pour on the big vocals until the end. It’s her best performance in weeks. Lionel prayed that she’d hold it until the end, and she did! “You were subtle in your movements, when you finally did we were all cheering.”

Tonight, the Top 9 will leave for Disneyland to prepare for Disney Songs on May 1. 

Deshawn Goncalves – The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand (from The Way We Were) – Bobby helps Deshawn have more fun by riding a carousel together. I guess he’s not smiling enough, or something. This song choice and presentation is SO OLD FASHIONED. He delivers the song tastefully, but c’mon dude. You aren’t 55 years old. But what do I know? Lot’s of older folks might love this and vote. Still, young guy should be singing as if he were a young guy. Luke calls Deshawn’s performance classy and beautiful. He compared it to a time capsule. Katy compares him to Luther Vandross. Ruben Studdard called DeShawn with advice.

Casey Bishop – Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland (from The Wizard of Oz) – Casey explains that she has an emotional attachment to The Wizard of Oz. Like Katharine, she sings the pre-verse–which many artists don’t . Casey sings a classic version of the song, accompanied by strings. The song allows her to prove she can tackle big songs that aren’t rock songs. Her voice is so powerful! “It’s so exciting to switch it up!” gushes Katy, congratulating her on her daring. What? You aren’t gonna chastise her for not choosing a lane and sticking to it? Katy’ thinks SHE’S the front runner. The advice is so inconsistent. Luke says, “Keep us guessing with surprises.”  Lionel says, “Rock to over the rainbow, it’s just unbelievable.”

Cassandra Coleman – Writing’s On The Wall by Sam Smith (from Spectre) – Cassie feels stronger than she did at the beginning of the process. Oh. She knew she blew her victory song last week. She’s talking about it! She saw all the comments on line. She even pushed back on them. People who tag the Idols with horrible comments are terrible people. She still sounds a little shaky this week. But she’s not allowing last week’s off performance to drag her down. The performance is delicate and powerful at the same time. And it’s also full of passion. Yes, there were a few wobbly moments in there. Not perfect. But still beautiful. Luke calls her performance “amazing.” Luke tells Cassie not to worry, “Your have fans that have your back.” Lionel compliments her “cry” and her “poise.” Katy says, “Never forget that you are not what the world thinks of you.”

Willie Spence – Stand Up by  Cynthia Erivo (from Harriet) – Willie picked the song, because he believes in doing what’s right. He’s still mourning his grandad who recently passed. Oh. Cynthia Erivo herself sends a heartfelt message to Willie. “I definitely have to kill it now!” he says. It’s another powerful performance from Willie. He does the double key change thing again. It’s kind of his superpower, his ability to make his way up a complicated scale of notes. Lionel is reading off a card. “Amen” he says. “Religious experience” and “You delivered the goods.” Katy says, “I stand with you. That was so powerful. That cuts through that darkness.” Oh. Now Luke is calling Willie the front runner. The inside of his coat is paisley.

OK America. GET IN YOUR VOTES. Results are coming up in MERE MOMENTS on the App and

Results: DeShawn looked SUPER SURPRISED that he made it through. And I’m very disappointed that Ava didn’t make it. If Idol wasn’t doing this ill-advised comeback show, that will bring back a contestant from last year, Ava might have had her chance.

Grace is the first called to the Top 9. The last four are the two wildcards, Beane and Madison Watkins, along with Ava August and Hunter Metts. The big dramatic moment is about whether voters punished Hunter for messing up, and the crying about it. Of course, they do not. 

American Idol Top 9

Grace Kinstler
Casey Bishop
Willie Spence
Alyssa Wray
Caleb Kennedy
DeShawn Goncalves
Chayce Beckham
Cassandra Coleman
Hunter Metts


Ava August
Madison Watkins


About mj santilli 34539 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!