American Idol 2023 Recap: Who Are the Top 20? Results!

(ABC/Eric McCandless) LUCY LOVE

American Idol 2023 Recap: Who are The Top 20? Revealed and Perform for Your Votes

American Idol 2023 Recap: Who Are the Top 20? Results! – Season 21 Top 20 results featuring judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan along with host Ryan Seacrest. The Top 20 are revealed, as they perform for a spot in the Top 12. Six contestants will leave the competition.

A three-hour episode, Season 20 winner Noah Thompson and runner-up HunterGirl perform. Motown legend Smokey Robinson also takes the stage. Additionally, American Idol reveals its brand new set and home at Red Studios.

American Idol 2023: Full Season 21 Schedule
American Idol 2023 Spoilers: Season 21 Top 20 Contestants Revealed!
American Idol 2023 Spoilers: Top 26 Season 21 Contestant List

Vote at, via the American Idol app or SMS Text. Tonight’s vote opens near the end of the East Coast broadcast (approximately 11pm ET) and will lock on Monday 4/24 at 9am ET.

How to Vote on American Idol 2023: Everything You Need to Know

This show was taped earlier this week. The Top 20 spoilers are HERE. But like always:

Reminder: Comments on this post are a SPOILER FREE ZONE. Do not spoil outcomes. Keep spoiler discussion confined to specific spoiler posts.

Ryan announces who is safe, beginning with night 1. After they are called, they perform for America’s Vote. the remaining three contestants from each group will leave the competition.

Zachariah Smith – I Want to Know what Love is by Foreigner

Zacharia shares that since the show filmed in Hawaii, his hometown Amory Mississippi was hit with a devastating tornado. The burger joint where he worked was heavily damaged. Last week i noted that he needed to sing a serious song at some point, rather than just be goofing around on stage. He does get serious, choosing “I Want to Know What Love Is.” It’s an impassioned performance, and is a good showcase for his vocals. “What a great way to start off our new digs,” says Lionel. “Superstar time,” he says. Katy says, “I think you know what love is now. It’s a little hard to be first. I think you are Top 10 material.” Really Katy. I would not go that far. Luke says about Zach’s song choices, “You put your stamp on them…that’s why America is loving them.”

Text 6 to 21523

Matt Wilson – Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur

Matt tears up as he watches the kids he teaches wish him good luck via video. The singer wraps his sweet silky voice around a James Arthur cover. He works the stage with a smile on his face, which is nice. But the original is so emotional, his rendition needed more passion. Katy says, “Watching you move and use the stage…the tears are healing you just like the smiles. Use both.” She makes a good point. Luke also notes his footwork. “Great song choice for you,” he says. Lionel loves his new attitude. “Enjoy this ride.”

Text 3 to 21523

Nailyah Serenity – Baby Love by Mother’s Finest

She maintains a Youtube channel devoted to astrology. She started reading professionally at 16. Oh, now she’s reading the judges. Oh boy. Generalizations Are Us. I’m not sure about this unfamiliar song choice, even though she’s killing it. Her performances are effortless. She brings her own unique vibe to her throwbacky phrasing. What a voice! “I can spot a star when I see one,” says Luke. “So many intriguing things…it’s pro.” Lionel says, “We are afraid of you. That was amazing. The voice is right there.” Katy goes, “Stanky stank face. You are an artist through and through.”

Text 10 to 21523

Warren Peay – Up There Down Here by Zach Williams

He loves to garden! He shares about his struggle with alcoholism. He began playing for the church, and it helped him. “I never thought I’d make it this far,” he admits. He’s a cross between Chris Stapleton and Greg Allman. He’s got the 70’s soulful rock vibe going, but also seems contemporary. He’s a solid vocalist, reminiscent of a contestant like Bo Bice. He could go far. Lionel says, “You’re doing such a great job. Congratulations.” Katy notices the blowout on his beard. “Thanks for being vulnerable,” she adds. Luke calls it a “World class song choice. Just stay you.” Ryan is on stage wearing a joke beard. Har har.

Text 9 to 21523

Kaeyra – Bruises by Lewis Capaldi

She talks about her Polish roots. Both her parents are immigrants. She got her start performing in the Chicago polish community. After detouring into different styles, the singer is back behind the piano where she started, singing a big piano ballad. She shows off her lower register, which is deep and rich. Kaeyra delivers every time she hits the stage, no matter what she sings. Katy compliments the arrangement, “Smacks me across the face….how are you not an artist yet.” Luke calls it “powerful and professional…surprising America. It was awesome.” Lionel says, “You’ve already made it. You have a career.”

Text 4 to 21523

Mariah Faith – Cry to Me by Solomon Burke

Mariah lives in a tiny house set in her mother’s backyard. Her grandparents live “two minutes around the corner.” Her family will be in the audience. The judges have complimented her country vibe. But she’s so soulful. She’s smart to lean into that part of her artistry. She’s a contemporary Bonnie Raitt. She hits a couple of wonky notes in her upper register though. Hopefully America votes for her. Luke calls it a “great performance.” He loves her outfit. Lionel admires her bell bottoms. “Great job.” Katy appreciates her party vibe. She also compares Mariah to Bonnie.

Text 7 to 21523

Smokey Robinson sings “Second That Emotion” and New Single

Smokey has a long history with American Idol. Contestants have covered him over and over again. His new album “Gasams” drops April 28. Yikes that title.

Iam Tongi – The Winner Takes it All by ABBA

Iam has been racking up the views across all the platforms. He’s a front runner right now. Even if he doesn’t win, he’s likely Top 5. He shares how he’s still grieving the recent death of his father. He looks nervously off stage before he starts. He seems rattled, but settles into the performances once it kicks off. The only risk here is that while he’s very good, he sounds the same every performance. He accompanies himself on guitar on an effortless, but laid back performance. He could peak too early. Having said that–It’s a good out of the box song choice, and he delivers as he always does. Lionel is on his feet, pointing at the audience. Katy says, “Can you believe what you’ve done? Watching you become a star is like watching a Disney movie.” Luke says, “God gave you the magic buddy.”

Text 13 to 21523

Haven Madison – Mean Girls by Leanna Crawford

She’s a cheerleader and a junior in high school. Her classmates are very supportive. She gets more recognized than her dad, a Christian artist. She picks an age appropriate song. She’s youthful but performs with the confidence of an older pro. However, she needs to watch her upper register. She sings outside of her comfort zone. More experience should fix that. Katy says, “It sounds like something you would have written. You presented yourself on a whole nother level. Refined sparkle.” Luke says, “That song choice just embodies what we want out of you. One of your best performances.” Lionel says, “You are just a seasoned pro. It’s not where you are, it’s where you’re going.” Katy and Luke both note that she picked a song she could have written.

Text 11 to 21523

Oliver Steele – Too Soon by Oliver Steele (Original)

In Hawaii, Oliver performed in the death spot. He’s relieved to be safe! His father, who suffered a stroke, spent weeks and weeks in the hospital, and is now on dialysis. It’s the first original song of the night. A little laid back for a competition song, it’s solid and highlights his vocal strengths. He hits one wonky note, but otherwise it’s a beautiful vocal performance. Luke compliments his songwriting skilling, calling it a “10 out of 10.” Lionel calls Oliver’s dad “a great parent,” adding “Your talent is on fire.” Katy notes it’s Oliver’s first original and that he’s “growing.” He wrote the song a couple of years back, but recently recorded the song. So, I suppose, watch for that!

Text 2 to 21523


Lucy Love – Boulders by Lucy Love (Original Song)

The singer shares how she’s been writings songs for a long time. She wrote it at a particular point of struggle as a single parent. Who knew that she wrote her own tunes. She’s a talented storyteller. who speaks honestly about her painful experiences. This is her best performance yet, and maybe because it comes from her heart. Her delivery is straightforward and powerful. Lionel is on his feet, “You came into this world invisible, you will leave this world as Lucy Love.” Katy says, “You are going to thrive and be a leader. Keep bringing us the Lucy kind of love.” Lucy captured Luke’s heart. “Way to show up tonight.

Text 12 to 21523

Eliminated from night 1: Emma Busse, Elise Kristine and PJAE

Night 2 contestants will now learn their fate. Ten will advance, 3 more will be eliminated.

Hanna Nicolaisen – Somebody to Love

Hannah shares how leaving Volleyball behind (she played in college) is bittersweet. In Hawaii, she sang while suffering the after effects of COVID-19. She seems VERY surprised to be safe. This is a BIG risky song. I’m not sure it’s a good choice for her? But she does finish the performance with a BIG note. Katy says, “That last note reminded me that this is your path.” Luke congratulates her for taking a big swing. “It was a great performance.” Lionel thinks she has guts. “Mind and body in the same spot.”

Text 20 to 21523

Olivia Soli – I Surrender by Celine Dion

She and her sister are very close and attended music school together. In 2019, an accident permanently injured her hand and she cannot play instruments anymore. “I’m here on Idol for her,” Olivia says. Eek, this song choice. She’s covering Celine AGAIN. (She sang “All By Myself” at Showstoppers) She performed it well. But ho hum. It’s a safe song choice, and kind of boring. She can hit the high notes, so yay I guess. She sang Mariah’s “Emotions” in Hawaii, so I guess 90s divas will be her thing. The judges give her the obligatory standing ovation. Luke thinks she’s challenging herself. Lionel says, “You don’t need a confidence boost. You should pat yourself on the back.” Katy thinks America got it right. “You should just sing Celine songs all the time.” Nooooo.

Text 23 to 21523

Marybeth Byrd – People Pleaser by Marybeth Byrd (Original)

Marybeth stuttered as a kid. Her parents didn’t understand why she didn’t stutter when she sang. It’s science, people. She has a hard time staying out of her own head. Oh. Marybeth sings an original. It’s a thing she couldn’t do as a The Voice contestant. Once again, a singer shines performing their own music. It’s not the best original of the night, but she sings with confidence, delivering the kind of performance the judges will love. And indeed, they are on their feet. Lionel compliments her falsetto and her storytelling. “Superstar material.” Katy calls her song “well written” and adds, “Now she’s a star.” Luke says, “It was a big big moment for you.”

Text 16 to 21523

Michael Williams – Lose You to Love Me by Selena Gomez

Oh, his hair is really short. I don’t like it. /shallow. Props to him though. He went into the Top 26 with little screen time and made a mark on stage. Now, he’s flipping a Selena Gomez song. He’s so romantic, he’s gonna get all the votes. I remember him winning the four way Knockout back on The Voice. He knows how to bring it. Katy yells about his hair. Ha! “You stepped into the artist version of yourself.” Luke calls him a great singer and compliments his song choice. Lionel says, “You’re turning now into a real stylist.”

Text 18 to 21523

Noah Thompson and HunterGirl – One Day Tonight

So Noah and HunterGirl sing HIS single as a duet. And not even his latest single, but his winners single from last year. She has a single out too. Why not plan two seperate performances? Tonight’s episode is THREE FRICKING HOURS. It’s kinda bad for Noah, because her stage presence and vocal ability show him up. The two have been touring together (as well as solo) and have another show coming up. Oh. They recorded the song as a duet. Noah just celebrated his 21st birthday.

Paige Anne – Say Something by Great Big World

Paige was eliminated before the Top 26, but got a second chance after Beckett Rex dropped out. That, after COVID forced her to perform remotely in Hollywood. And now she’s made it through to the Top 20. She sings the song in a gospelly style. All that’s missing is the backing choir. It’s a better effort than her Top 26 performance in Hawaii. She’s terrific when emoting on a big ballad. She flips this song and makes it her own. The judges are on their feet. Luke says, “You’ve persevered through all this.” Lionel says. “This is God’s plan for you.” Katy says, “We got it wrong…Jesus took the wheel. You’re our best vocalist in your age category.” She’s a teen. Ryan hands the weepy singer, who is embarrassed to be crying, a tissue.

Text 15 to 21523

Nutsa – Un-Break My Heart by Toni Braxton

OH LOOK. An old video. Nutsa has a mohawk. Wanting to take care of her mother drove her to compete in contestants and play festivals. She’s from Eastern Europe, but Hollywood is her dream. It’s another big diva song from Nutsa. She sings like she’s competing for Miss USA. She is even wearing a sparkly ball gown. She’s got the big arm gestures to match. And on cue, she hits the big Star Search note. The judges are on their feet. Lionel calls her the “hardest working…you are a person to be reckoned with.” Katy compliments her losing the “glitter.” (the judge got a bunch of bad press for that remark). She compliments her for performing straight from her heart. Luke says, “You need to hold your head up high.”

Text 26 to 21523

Tyson Venegas – 180 by Tyson Venegas (Original)

Elijah must have jolted for a second as Ryan mentioned the Platinum ticket. Sorry kid, Ryan is referring to Tyson. He sings an original song for the first time. It’s about “turning around” what’s wrong in the world. “We need a 180,” the lyrics go. He accompanies himself on the piano. It’s a catchy song, and has a vibey youthful feel. It’s not a perfect vocal, but still impressive. Katy says, “I know what you stand for, I can fall deeper in love with you. You are on your way to being an artist.” Luke says, “Delivering a message to the world.” He compliments his musical talent. Lionel says, “That was a damn good song.”

Text 25 to 21523

Megan Danielle – Holy Water by We the Kingdom

Megan shares about her struggle with confidence. At 7, her parents divorced. “I put a lot of blame on myself.” That’s sad. Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece by Piece” plays in the background as Megan tells her story. She’s breaking out the gospel song! It’s a good choice for her raspy, soulful voice. This might actually be her best performance so far. She’s hitting very clean high notes (can’t say that for everyone tonight). The judges are standing. Luke calls it her best performance. “Nobody sounds anything like you. Great job.” Lionel calls it a “sold out performance..” Katy also thinks it’s her “best delivery” adding “a confidence has settled in.”

Text 21 to 21523

Colin Stough – Pretty Heart by Parker McCollum

He’s a hayseed, y’all. Where he comes from, you either drive a truck, work at the factory or join the military, he says. His mother signed him up. An audience member holds up a “Cougars for Colin” sign. Hoo boy. He came on strong with his audition, but since then, a bunch of male country singers are showing him up, including Oliver Steele and Warren Peay. Lucky for Colin, they performed on Night 1. On the big stage, Colin hits pitchy notes and at moments seems overwhelmed. Lionel says, “Keep growing.” Katy wants to push him vocally, “I know you have them in you.” She’s pushing him to come out of his shell on stage. Luke calls him his “little science experiment.” He identifies with him at his age. “You’ve got to give it to us,” says Luke, noting how he holds back. Yep.

Text 24 to 21523

Wé Ani – Skyfall by Adele

Wé pointed out the little girl who was signing all the stage remarks in Hawaii. She just had to meet the young fan. The singer’s brother lost his hearing for a few years and she learned sign language. It’s a perfect song choice for the former The Voice finalist, and a showstopping way to end the episode. It’s not a perfect performance, but her deep burnished tone and dramatic flair is everything. Katy says, “I’m just so shook right now! There’s so much drama going through my body.” Katy begs America to vote. Luke calls Wé “deserving” and adds “You crush it every night.” Lionel says, “I love you. The amount of talent that you have is undeniable.”

Text 17 to 21523

Eliminated from night 2: Dawson Wayne, Elijah McCormick and Malik Heard


Emma Busse
Elise Kristine

Dawson Wayne
Elijah McCormick
Malik Heard

Elijah McCormick won the AMAs Platinum Ticket and wowed the judges with a version of Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” at his audition. They compared him to the late Willie Spence. But as soon as America voted, he left the competition. His problem: Performing early and a poor song choice. Emma Busse has been a consistently good performer. Sad to see her go.

About mj santilli 34829 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!