7:30pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'American Idol': Judges Select Top 40 as Hollywood Week Continues
A hectic Hollywood Week continued Monday night on ABC's American Idol, starting with a continuation of the group round. Then, contestants gave solo performances, which judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie used to select the top 40.
Sunday night’s episode ended on a cliffhanger as the group Ain’t Going Home awaited the fate of one of their members Nate Walker, who was sent to the hospital. He ended up only spending a couple of hours there before returning to sing with the group. They sang “The Longest Time” by Billy Joel, and there were a lot of issues. Walker’s illness affected him significantly, and he didn’t want to sing his full solo, but when the performance was over, the judges pushed him to sing it. Despite the issues, Walker, along with his groupmates Gazzie White, Logan Johnson and Ruthie Craft, all advanced.
After that surprising result, the group round concluded, and it was time for the final solo performances. Seventy singers had to be whittled down to 40. First up was Walker Burroughs, singing “Your Song” by Elton John. His ad libs and runs were strong, and it was a vulnerable performance.
Juan Pablo, who definitely struggled in the group round, was up singing “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga. He had some pitch issues, and Perry noted that it was vocally weak.
Ryan Hammond got things turned around with his tight performance of “All I Ask” by Adele, showcasing an impressive range and a delicate tone that suited the song well.
Singing “Lost Without You” by Freya Ridings, Kai the Singer gave an emotional, gorgeous performance. Perry picked up on her nerves and suggested to the other judges that she needed more confidence.
In rapid succession, Riley Thompson sang Johnny Cash's “Ring of Fire”; Raquel Trinidad performed “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”; and Evelyn Cormier sang Oasis' “Wonderwall.”
Eddie Island and Alejandro Aranda stood out by singing original songs. Aranda’s was a more impressive original than Island’s, but they both sounded strong, and singing their own songs helped them make a mark on the judges. Perry went so far as to say Island’s original was a “really bad song.”
The easily overwhelmed contestant Margie Mays was very emotional heading into her solo performance, but after encouragement from her vocal coach, she pulled it together for her performance of “Never Be Enough.” She belted out some huge notes.
Wade Cota forgot his lyrics during the group round, but there was no chance of that happening again, as he also chose to sing an original for his solo performance. The judges didn’t seem that into it, and Perry said he needs to sing the right song.
Walker was back and seemingly feeling a little better, though he still struggled vocally. He sang “Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson. Perry said his singing was “all over the place,” and Bryan called it “rough.”
Country singer Tyler Mitchell sang “Broken Halos” by Chris Stapleton, which was a solid song choice for him. Unfortunately, he forgot some of the words due to nerves.
Drake McCain also sang “Always on My Mind,” and he was followed by Bumbly singing “God Is a Woman” by Ariana Grande. She sang parts of the song in Spanish, which the judges always like.
Nick Townsend sang “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes, and Gaba, the contestant who was reunited with her egg donor, who also came to her audition, sang “Jealous” by Labrinth.
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon performed “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” and it was a slow, vulnerable performance that really allowed him to zero in on the vocals. He hit a big note that made it one of the most memorable performances of the packed episode. “He is an amazing singer,” Bryan said mid-performance.
Singing “Daughters” by John Mayer, Kate Barnette showed a creative, indie side that made the song her own.
Mya Tran sang “I Put a Spell on You,” and Shayy sang “Cry Pretty” by former Idol winner Carrie Underwood. Laci Kaye Booth dug into “Stars” by Grace Potter.
Dedicating his performance to his little sister, Uche sang “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara. He gave a subtle but powerful performance. It was his personal best on the show so far, and he showed a different side by going downtempo.
Madison Vandenberg sang “All I Ask” by Adele after contemplating singing an original. Emotional ballads definitely seem to be her wheelhouse. She sang it well.
Austin Michael sang “Parachute” by Chris Stapleton, switching up his song choice at the last minute. Perry thought it was his worst performance, so maybe the change didn’t work in his favor.
Shawn Robinson sang Stevie Wonder's “Don’t You Worry 'Bout a Thing,” and Alyssa Raghu, who competed last season, sang “What About Us” by Pink.
In the final performance ahead of deliberations, Johanna Jones sang “Wicked Game.” Her boyfriend surprised her and proposed, making for a dramatic ending.
The contestants were then divided into rooms and given their fates. Two rooms advanced, and one was cut. The room eliminated included Juan Pablo.
Contestants who advanced to the showcase performances in Hawaii included Raghu, Cormier, Aranda, Island, Harmon, Booth, Mays, Barnette, Khai the Singer, Tran, Trinidad, Townsend, Walker, Robinson, Uche, Cota and Burroughs.
The top 40 will perform their showcases on Sunday night.