American Idol: Hannah Nicolaisen, Warren Peay Make Chemistry

Hannah Nicolaisen, Warren Peay American Idol 2023
(ABC/Eric McCandless) HANNAH NICOLAISEN, WARREN PEAY

American Idol 2023 Hollywood Duets: Hannah Nicolaisen and Warren Peay Make a Connection

American Idol season 21 Hollywood Week concluded on Monday night, and it featured the typical drama expected for the duet round. This season, each competitor got to pick their duet partner with the platinum ticket holders choosing first. The drama included the first ever trio, the typical disagreements and forgetting the words, and a contestant dropping out. Still there were a few pairings that were drama-free and it showed in their incredible performances.

The highlight of the night was a pairing with Chris Stapleton sound-a-like Warren Peay and storytelling songstress Hannah Nicolaisen. The two picked an intimate number even though they had just meant. Luke seemed impressed when he stopped by while they were rehearsing and advised them to connect, noting that “it’s a passionate song.”

The duo called themselves Blue Bonnet and sang country ballad, “It’s Your Love” by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Warren has a captivating power to his sound and started the song off with some grit. The harmonies were a bit disjointed, but there was something magical in the way their sounds came together as they performed, even if there were a few pitch and timing issues.

When Hannah came in with her solo, it felt like I was witnessing something special. Her lower range is gorgeous and when she belted, I was in awe, as she had never shown this side of her vocal ability before. Even though different stylistically than season 11 finalist Elise Testone, some of her belts had the grit and intrigue of Elise, one of my all-time favorite Idol contestants. As the performance went on, Warren showed even more power and seemed to connect emotionally with Hannah.

Hannah and Warren Through to the Showstoppers Round

The crowd of contestants appeared to be very pleased with the performance. The judges gave them a standing ovation. Luke Bryan told them, “you took a country classic and really made it your own. I just thought it was a great moment.” They did a little joking bit where they turned around and then had Hannah and Warren turn around, before sending them through to the Top 55 showstoppers round.

Hannah’s audition of “Make You Feel My Love” which landed on my top 10 greatest auditions list and her Hollywood original, “Through The Motions” were lovely, but they were understated. With this performance, I feel like she showed a new, more bombastic side to her voice. She has more oomph and tools than she initially let on which is a smart way to navigate the competition, as she may be able to put together a sneaky dark horse run. When assessing Warren’s potential, I see him making it somewhat far with his super clean vocals. He’s been consistent, but his lack of artistic identity may hurt him. He seems a bit too like Chris Stapleton whereas country standouts like Marybeth Byrd and Colin Stough have more artistic identity.

Several standout performances

Overall, this duet was a standout with a few others. Those were Matt Wilson and Elise Kristine who had one of the better vocals for a duet on “You Are The Reason”, and Elijah McCormick and Lucy Love’s duet of “My Girl” which was a bit over the top with runs, but it truly showcased their vocal abilities.

Honorable mention goes to the trio of Jayna Elise, Adin Boyer, and Summer Joy as it was a wonderful moment seeing Jayna taking Adin (who is on the autism spectrum) in when he felt left out with no partner. This trio also had some beautiful harmonies on “I’m Still Standing”, and Jayna was my personal favorite in it. She also ended the night in a sweet moment, volunteering to help Fire Willmore after her duet partner, Kayla Stewart, left the competition.  So far this season’s Hollywood Week has been super strong, so it’ll be fun to see it wrap up with the top 55 showstoppers round.

About Blake Busch 272 Articles
I am a graduate of Drake University with a BSBA in marketing and minor in data analytics. My favorite shows to follow are American Idol and The Voice. I also love crime thrillers, Top Chef, and Masterchef. My hobbies include cooking, baking, playing basketball, and watching sports.