A week before the 93rd Academy Awards, American Idol rolled out the red carpet for the Top 12 as they performed Oscar-nominated songs. Judge Lionel Richie kicked the show off in grand fashion with “Say You, Say Me” from the film White Nights. The hit earned him a statuette for “Best Original Song” in 1986.
Richie joined fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, who returned to the panel after his recent (and brief) battle with COVID. The Idol hopefuls then gave their during the live broadcast for America’s vote. In-house mentor Bobby Bones helped them mentally prepare for the stage.
Sadly, only nine would get that trip to Disney World in Orlando. And host Ryan Seacrest revealed Beane, Ava August, and Madison Watkins were having their final curtain call.
The final slot in the Top 10 goes to one of the returning singers from last season, which will be decided by viewers after the April 19 show. Who do you think delivered? Did the right three go home? Let’s take a look at the 12 performances from Sunday night.
Grace Kinstler Gets Happy
The vocal powerhouse decided to let her hair down with the earworm “Happy” by Pharrell Williams from Despicable Me 2. She spoke with Bobby before the performance about setting a body-positive example to girls watching at home. Katy Perry said she can sing the telephone book. Luke liked how she commands the stage. Lionel admired her control and how comfortable she looked on stage.
Ava August Is a Star on the Rise
Bobby was surprised by her poise at a young age but encouraged her to be a kid. She took the 15-year-old on a driving lesson in a golf cart. She chose “City of Stars,” the duet Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone from the musical La La Land. Luke was amazed at Ava’s maturity. Lionel wasn’t sure about the driving skills but is confident in her singing ability. Katy wanted her to show more youthful exuberance. She did appreciate the dress and Doc Martens combo.
Caleb Kennedy Goes Fishing
Caleb went fishing with Bobby before taking the stage, helping channel back home. The country crooner put on the cowboy hat and grabbed his guitar once again for “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson from Honeysuckle Rose. Lionel stood for the 16-year-old’s efforts, feeling if he keeps it up he’ll be on the road for a very long time. Katy liked his authentic grit. Luke thought it was his best performance, picking the right song.
Hunter Metts Gets Emotional
To help with Hunter’s confidence issues, Bobby had him rehearse in front of a wall of mirrors outside. He went for a softer song this week with “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová from Once. Hunter teared up and broke down toward the end of the performance. Katy felt it was his best performance and that showing vulnerability resonates with people. Luke enjoyed the ride Hunter took him on. Lionel recalled forgetting the words on “Hello” at a concert but noting the crowd loved it. He felt Hunter’s rendition was perfect.
Madison Watkins Channels Her Inner Diva
After being a judge’s save, she came out swinging with “Run to You” by Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard. A song she sang growing up. Madison brings the glitz and glamour of Whitney to accompany strong vocals. Luke was glad she was brought back and will give America something to think about. Lionel thought she did a great job. Katy stood in applause for the performance and iconic look.
Chayce Beckham Inspires America
Chayce looked back at his rock bottom moment and battles with alcohol with Bobby. He wanted to sing “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves for everyone going through similar struggles. Lionel liked the second half in particular because he found himself. Katy felt he took it to the next level. Luke thinks he is the front-runner.
Beane Has the Time of His Life
Bobby felt he needed a big vocal performance after being saved last week. Beane turned to the popular “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” originally done for Dirty Dancing by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. Katy liked the acoustic start with the guitar, leaving people on the edge of their seats. She said he was ready for the stage.
This Is Alyssa Wray
Alyssa decided on “This Is Me,” performed by Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Ensemble from The Greatest Showman. Earlier she told Bobby she sang the song as a junior in high school, connecting to the song’s meaning. She talked about her struggles with being taller than others. Her plans are to win an Oscar and do it all as an actress and singer. Lionel called her a subtle force.
Deshawn Goncalves Makes a Memory
Bobby takes Deshawn on a carousel ride, so he remembers to have fun on stage. The Idol hopeful changed gears from last week, choosing a ballad from Barbra Streisand and The Way We Were from the movie of the same name. Luke found it beautiful and classic. He compared it to being in a time capsule. Katy called him a young Luke Vandross.
Casey Bishop Goes Over The Rainbow
Judy Garland was just 16 when she sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz. The same age as Casey Bishop, who chose the song because it’s from the first movie she ever saw. It also reminds the resident rocker of mom. Katy liked how she switched it up, calling her a front-runner. Luke enjoyed seeing the rock girl do something that keeps people guessing. Lionel complimented her delivery.
Cassie Coleman Takes on Bond
Cassie gravitated to the lyrics of “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith from the James Bond Spectre soundtrack. She talked to Bobby before about facing negative feedback on social media. Lionel and Luke gave positive marks to the former coffee barista. Katy tells Cassie it’s more important how she sees herself rather and basically forget about the haters.
Willie Spence Gets Them Standing Up
Bobby surprised Willie with words of encouragement from Cynthia Erivo, knowing he is dealing with the loss of his granddad. It got him in the right headspace to absolutely kill it on Cynthia’s “Stand Up” from her movie Harriet. Lionel called his performance a religious experience. Katy found it powerful, which cuts through any darkness. Luke added another potential front-runner to the list.
American Idol, April 19, 8/7c, ABC