American Idol Top 20: Leah Marlene’s Game Changing Performance

(ABC/Christopher Willard) LEAH MARLENE

American Idol Top 20 Performance: Katy Perry Wonders Is Leah Marlene E.T.?

Leah Marlene, a 20-year-old from Normal, Illinois, took on English Singer-Songwriter, Tom Odell’s “Heal” from the soundtrack of the movie If I Stay for American Idol season 20 top 20 night. It’s a beautiful, cinematic song with an emotional punch. The singer-songwriter wisely chose to reveal another side to her personality. (Read our Recap)

This time, Leah set aside her quirkiness from previous performances, revealing that she is a serious artist who can show other sides of herself. This performance proved that she is a powerhouse in her own right and that even if she isn’t necessarily belting a lot of the time, her range and ability to hit sustained notes is as impressive as many of the belters in the competition.

There was an ache to Leah’s voice throughout the performance. Her tone that sets her apart was on full display here, as she hit some gorgeous head voice notes. As always, Leah showed that she is the arrangement queen of the competition. Even though she wasn’t playing an instrument, I could sense that she probably had a big part in putting the song together.

The judges were stunned

The judges and the audience were stunned. I have listened to this performance several times already, and each time I spot new cool nuances that Leah added to the vocal that I didn’t notice the time before. Leah has always been a contender, but this made her a true front runner.

The look on Katy Perry’s face was 100% how I felt after the performance. Katy asked Leah, “are you real?” She compared the singer to an alien, which immediately brought Katy’s hit song “E.T” to mind. Anyways, Katy said the song allowed her to “grow into the most beautiful woman.” Luke Bryan loved the transformation. “This feels like a finale night,” he remarked. Lionel Richie declared, “we witnessed a possession. It was spiritual. It was crazy good.”

Leah should sail straight through to the Top 14

The best performance of the night, Leah should sail through to the top 14 and be in the group of 10 that are safe without a judges wildcard. Ava Maybee and Allegra Miles were the other two contestants who made a lasting impression and were next in line for the night’s best. Honorable mentions go to Fritz Hager, Emyrson Flora, Noah Thompson, and Elli Rowe. Some may argue that some of the honorable mentions didn’t give the biggest vocal performances, but these stood out from the rest, and they each had artistic qualities to them that keep me coming back to each one.


About Blake Busch 220 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.