7:28pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'American Idol': Judges Select First Seven of Top 14
Ten of the top 20 contestants performed in celebrity duets on American Idol on Sunday night. At the end of the episode, judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan selected seven singers to advance to the top 14, sending three home. On Monday night, the remaining 10 singers of the top 20 will go through the same process.
First up was Walker Burroughs, singing “Have It All” with Jason Mraz. “I have loved this guy since I was a kid,” Burroughs said. They gave a laid-back but vocally strong performance. The harmonies were solid, and the judges were into their dynamic together. Perry praised their moves and vocals.
Kate Barnette followed with a duet of “Heartbreaker” with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo. Barnette said that she was raised on gospel and only knew about “Heartbreaker” because of the video game Guitar Hero. Barnette got to play guitar alongside the rock legend and delivered fun rocker vibes. She showed a different side of her voice, which was definitely a risk, and the judges weren’t totally sold on it. Bryan suggested she was out of her comfort zone.
Riley Thompson teamed up with Brett Young for a performance of “Like I Loved You.” Thompson doesn’t have a lot of experience, but her voice was well suited for the song. She wasn’t as able to deliver on the emotional front, but she delivered a solid vocal despite being new to singing harmonies. Perry said she handled the pressure well, and Richie praised her growth on the show so far. Thompson actually compared her to Dolly Parton when they rehearsed.
Uche sang “I Need Your Love” with Shaggy, who encouraged him to sing the song in his full voice since the key was a little challenging. They put on an entertaining show together. Perry advised him to be more deliberate with his runs, but all the judges were pleased with his ability to perform.
Madison VanDenburg also joined Benatar and Giraldo for a performance of “We Belong.” The harmonies were on point, and VanDenburg sang with conviction. The judges praised her confidence and ability to keep up with Benatar in terms of powerful vocals.
Shawn Robinson sang “Proud Mary” with Elle King, and it was a great song for him even though he had some reservations about it. They did a slowed-down arrangement that really suited his style and voice, and his ad libs added originality. Unfortunately, he messed up and forgot his words. Still, the judges praised his ability to recover.
Mraz returned to perform with contestant Ashley Hess. They sang “I’m Yours,” and Hess adjusted the arrangement in a way that showed off her artistry. She stayed behind the piano, and it was a standout performance for the night with crystal harmonies. Richie called it “pristine.”
Bumbly and Shaggy sang “Angel,” and Bumbly’s tone was well suited for the song. She blended well with Shaggy and showed a new confidence. Bryan said it was a great vocal, and Perry said she loved the sound of her voice.
Laci Kaye Booth and Young sang “Mercy,” and Booth stepped outside of her comfort zone by not playing guitar. It allowed her to really focus on her vocals, and she gave a solid country performance with a lot of emotion. “That was incredible,” Richie said.
Laine Hardy closed out the night with King, singing “The Weight.” It was another good song choice, and Hardy came out of his shell for the performance. Hardy’s brother also visited to surprise the contestant.
Then it was time for results. The first artist through to the top 14 was Booth. She was followed by Hess, Burroughs, VanDenburg, Uche, Thompson and Hardy. That meant Barnette, Robinson and Bumbly were sent home.
The second half of the top 20 will perform celebrity duets tomorrow night on ABC.