American Idol 2022 Recap: Top 5 Sing Carrie Underwood, Top 3 Revealed

Ryan Seacrest Leah Marlene Fritz Hager Nicolina Bozza

The American Idol Top 5 perform TWO songs this week. One is by or covered by Carrie Underwood. The singers travelled to Las Vegas where the season 4 winner mentored their performances at Resorts World. The other, is a song of their choice based on an “encore worthy” theme. 

The episode once again is LIVE COAST-TO-COAST. That means the show will air simultaneously across ET/CT/MT/PT time zones. VOTING begins at 8 pm ET and ends after the last comercial break. At the end of the show, host Ryan Seacrest will announce the THREE singers moving on to next week’s Grand Finale. Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan serve as judges.

Go to or the American Idol app to vote. Fans can also text their votes. Voting rules and text numbers at the link below:

American Idol 2022: How To Vote For Your Favorite Contestants

Fritz Hager and Noah Thompson tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Neither singer could perform on the live show. But Fritz was well enough to travel to Las Vegas with Nicolina Bozzo, Leah Marlene and HunterGirl. Noah stayed behind. Will he be well enough to sing live tonight?

American Idol 2022: Top 5 Contestant Rankings, Poll Results
American Idol Top 5 Singer Missed Vegas, No Original Songs Until Finale

The finalists attended Carrie’s concert at Resorts World where she has a residency, and she introduced them from the audience. Once again, the Top 3 will head back to their hometowns for a big celebration.

Carrie Underwood songs are first!


Undo it – Carrie helps Hunter work on her strut. “HunterGirl is going to bring the sass.” They walk through the theater as she rehearses. Carrie suggests that she “talk herself up.” She confesses that she still get nervous, even now. Hunter starts out in the pit while making her way to the stage. She serenades the judges for a bit. Her look–hot pants–definitely Carrie inspired! This is a boring song, though. She’s working the stage pretty well, however, playing off the guitarist. The high notes are a bit problematic. She looks a little uncomfortable. But then, so did Carrie sometimes back in her Idol days,

Lionel notes that she did exactly what Carrie told her to do. “Spectacular.” Katy compliments the way she engaged the audience. She calls it her best performance so far. Hm. I don’t think so. “Way to get inspired by Carrie Underwood,” says Luke. “Amazing.”

Leah Marlene

I’ll Stand By You by Pretenders – Leah shares that Carrie was her childhood hero. She used to sing her songs and upload them to Youtube. Carrie covered the song on the charity Idol Gives Back special years ago. She compliments Hunter’s artistry. “Now is the time to bring it,” Carrie says. She does a little duet with Leah, as if she were singing with the BGV. Carrie is a very generous mentor. Leah changes the melody a bit to make it her own. It’s slight and very pretty. It’s good Leah doesn’t have to compete with Noah and HunterGirl on their ground. She’s able to do her own thing, including soaring notes and inventive phrasing. It’s a lovely performance.

“Did you just reinvent that song?” says Katy. “Like I was hearing it for the very first time!” Luke calls it beautiful on all levels. “”You never look like you’re not in control. You know your voice in and out.” Lionel says, “You took that song and turned it into your song.” Ryan repeats the oft told story about him asking Carrie in Hollywood if she’d seen any stars and she answered, “No, it’s pretty cloudy out.” I always assumed that bit was scripted.  

Fritz Hager

I Wanna Remember – The song is a Carrie collab with Needtobreathe. “He gave a softer perspective to the song,” notes Carrie. “I’m a little nervous!” says Fritz. Carrie believes he’s grown a lot. The song rules allowed something for everybody. I don’t even remember this song. But it’s suitable to Fritz’s style. He could cover it and it would sit comfortably with the rest of his music. He’s a little off-key in his falsetto. Nevertheless, solid performance from Fritz. 

Luke compliments his interpretation and guitar playing. “Great job.” Lionel marvels how he can stand still and have stage presence. He also compliments the way he can change gears. Katy calls it “effortlessly cool” and “you stayed true to yourself.” Fritz watched Dungeons and Dragons streams during quarantine. Geeky!

Noah Thompson

So Small – Noah has a virtual session with Carrie. Noah felt more comfortable in his room with his guitar, Noah says, explaining why he did so well last week, despite being very sick. He had to miss meeting Carrie in person, but he can sing live this week. Carrie thinks the show is created for people like her and Noah, from small towns. She’s crying. No guitar this week. He sings a conventional arrangement of the song. He’s out of his comfort zone–the song is made for big vocals like Carrie’s, but he opens up at the end.. He’s walking the stage and even approaches the judges. He seems out of his comfort zone this week. 

Lionel calls him believable and a great storyteller. He assures Noah that “it’s really happening to you.” Katy is impressed with how he moved around the stage. “Keep doing it! People are obsessed with you. They want to touch you.” Luke jumped up to help Noah touch hands. They really want Noah in the finale. 

Nicolina Bozzo

Blown Away – It’s a good pick for big-voiced Nicolina. Carrie likes how she slowed down the arrangement. Nicolina   confesses that she hates in-ears and constantly pulls them out. “She got this big beautiful voice,” she’s going to crush it,” says Carrie. Nicolina starts slow, but the arrangement picks up in the chorus and sounds much like Carrie’s version. The wind machine is working overtime! The vocal isn’t perfect, but the emotion in the last verse and chorus can’t be denied. She looks spent afterward!

“I felt that one!” says Katy. She notes the big production values that seems to always accompany Niconina’s performances. Does she ask for it? “Way to get up and deliver,” says Luke. Lionel says you’ve made it when they bring out the fan machine. ‘Stay in this pocket…vote for this lady,” he says. Ryan comes out in his own cape and tries out the machine. 

Next, Finneas, who mentored the contestants last year, is back to sing “Naked” his new single. For those who don’t know, Finneas’ sister and collaborator is Billie Eilish. They are like a modern day Carpenters! Or maybe not. He says it’s been a treat to watch all the incredible performances in person.

The next song choice theme is “The song that would close your show.” An encore, basically

Leah Marlene

Separate Ways by Journey – Marlene talks about how “Heal” was her best performance, and that it allowed her to show she was more than the quirky singer. It’s another tremendous performance from Leah. She takes an 80’s hair band song and KEEPS it epic, but wholly her own. She shows off her range and even throws in a little rock scream. Leah is KILLING IT TONIGHT. If she leaves, she goes out on a tremendous high note.  She’s the best of the five so far tonight.

“Y’all are going after each other now!” says Luke. “What a dynamic performance.” Lionel says, “You’ve got the shot at the career now…this is a slugfest!” Katy wants to see her duet with Steve Perry. “I’m going to do a ballad and I’m going to show my fangs!” 

Next, is a behind the scenes look at the Top 5 recording their original songs alongside top-notch producers. 


Girl Crush by Little Big Town – Hunter cries as she describes how she’s wanted to be a singer since she was a kid. “I’ve worked so hard,” she says. Hunter doesn’t do much to change the arrangement. But the song is a showcase for her clear, pure radio ready tone. The sound of her voice is like a beautiful bell. She performs a few sweet adlibs at the end.

Lionel calls her performance “amazing.” Katy says, “I’ve got a girl crush.” Her nieces love Hunter and are voting for her.” Luke remarks, “You are totally in star mode right now.” HunterGirl cries as she asks for votes. She repeats, “I’ve worked so hard.

Ryan announces that American Idol is coming back for a 21st season, as announced a few days ago. YAY. 

Rita Ora and Diane Warren are in the studio to promote a collaboration they recorded for an ESPN documentry on girls sports (Title IX).

Fritz Hager

Youngblood by 5 seconds of Summer – Remember when Luke said NO to Fritz in his audition? Wow. Eventually Luke admitted that he deserved to be here. Fritz becomes so emotional talking about his American Idol journey. He is smart tonight, choosing songs he’ll sing out in the real world. Because this COULD be his last performance in competition. All the contestants are working the stage tonight, on at least one song and Fritz is no exception. NO guitar–he grabs the mic to work the audience. He’s like a crazy man up there, in the best possible way. He ends staring right into the camera. He’s learning.

“Are you in the Strokes? Are you in the Ramones? YOU’RE SO COOL,” Katy gushes. Luke is very very very embarrassed that he said no. “Love everything you’ve done.” Lionel loves his look. “That was great!”

Nicolina Bozzo

All I Ask by Adele – Nicolina has figured out who she is as an artist and learned to trust herself. She wants to be an example to her little sisters. This is a better vocal than the first, where Nicolina had some vocal wobbles. She delivers a vocal tour de force. She’s giving it all she’s got, and singing like it might be her last performance in competition. She’s crying now. 

Lionel calls it an “American Idol treasured moment.” Katy says, “You didn’t come her to play.” Running out of time for judges remarks! Nicolina mentions that Adele is one of her heroes. 

Noah Thompson 

Working Man by Larry Fleet – He felt like a fish out of water in Hollywood after growing up in the “holler.” He’s only 20, but has a young son. I hope he’s ready and mentally and emotionally equipped for what’s coming. Because he’s probably going to win. Noah sits center stage with an acoustic guitar. Singing storytelling songs in a heartfelt and emotional way is where he really shines. 

Lionel asks viewers to vote. “You just aced that test,” says Katy.


Time for results. SKEERD. TOM DIM THE LIGHTS In no particular order. The first person is…HunterGirl. Next, is Noah Thompson. And the last spot goes to…Leah Marlene!!!! WOW!!! I’m shook. She’s very very very surprised. For the longest time I thought Fritz would win it all. But going on tonight’s performances only–Leah deserved to advance. She turned in the absolutely best performances of the night.

Top 3

Leah Marlene


Fritz Hager
Nicolina Bozzo


About mj santilli 35006 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!