American Idol Top 14: Tristen Gressett Takes A Risk With Adam Lambert’s Breakout Hit
Sunday’s American Idol Top 14 performance episode included some nostalgia to celebrate the historic 20th season as the Top 14 took on breakout hits (Read our Recap).
Two contestants performed songs by American Idol alums. Lady K stayed out of danger with Fantasia’s coronation song, “I Believe,” while Tristen Gresset took a crack at Adam Lambert’s hit “Whataya Want From Me.”
Additionally, season 16 third place finisher and country breakout star Gabby Barrett returned to mentor the Top 14. Tristen knew that he needed to leave a lasting mark with his performance this week, as he needed a judges save last week to stay in the competition.
The singer made the risky decision to drop his guitar this week, which meant relying more on emotional connection and vocals rather than his high-energy stage presence. Gabby advised Tristen to be purposeful with his loud notes and worked on making them more dynamic. Gabby noted his Led Zeppelin-like vibe. Tristen hoped that Adam would see the performance.
After Adam Lambert’s good luck wishes, Tristen becomes emotional
Tristen stripped back the first part of his performance, displaying some terrific phrasing. He seems to be a sponge when it comes to advice as he appeared to take Gabby’s suggestions to heart. Tristen doesn’t have the most range, so phrasing and dynamics are key for him. It does appear that as the performance built, he stumbled on the words and timing. But he laughed it off and recovered like a pro. Tristen is memorable, as he managed to connect on an out-of-the-box song choice from a very loved alum. He did well on the ending glory note that he and Gabby worked on.
Lionel Richie appreciated how the singer added an “element called acting” to the performance. Katy Perry liked how he brought the “drama” and said that he has the “coolest, weirdest, awesome-est vibe.” Luke Bryan said he “came to play tonight” before noting that he did stumble on the words. Host Ryan Seacrest then pointed to a screen behind them where a video of Adam wishing Tristen good luck on his performance played. It’s a bit weird they didn’t show the “good luck” clip to Tristen before his performance. When it came to votes, showing the clip probably helped make Tristen’s time on the stage more memorable. For Tristen’s sake, hopefully, Adam takes a look at the performance.
Tristen moves on to the American Idol “Judges Song Contest”
Tristen was the last contestant ushered into the Top 11. He is moving on to sing in the “Judges Song Contest” round on Monday (April 25).
My favorite singers of the night were Fritz Hager and Allegra Miles who put artistic touches on their songs. I’m sad to see Allegra go. Honorable mentions go to Nicolina Bozzo and Noah Thompson who are two of the most consistent performers.
Side note: Gabby Barrett was an excellent mentor, one of ABC Idol’s best. She was up there with Finneas from last year, whom I loved. She was not afraid to be honest with the contestants as she often gave thoughtful critiques, and at times she recalled her time on the show when making suggestions.