8:07pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'American Idol': Top 20 Revealed
In a three-hour special episode of ABC's American Idol on Sunday night, the top 20 contestants were selected by judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. Artists sang showcase performances in front of live audiences in Hawaii, and the judges then made their deliberations one-on-one.
First up was Alyssa Raghu, singing “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor. Raghu competed last season and was back to prove herself. Perry was impressed by her growth, praising her natural vibe onstage. She made the top 20.
Next up was Madison Vandenberg, singing “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson 5. She delivered a smooth, soulful performance and commanded the stage. She also made it into the top 20.
Then came Myra Tran, singing “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. She wasn’t pitch-perfect, and she had some breath control issues, too. As Richie put it, it just wasn’t 100 percent. She was cut from the competition.
Logan Johnson performed “Sorry” by Justin Bieber. He sang part of the song in Spanish in order to set himself apart, and the judges were very into it. He advanced to the top 20.
Nate Walker, who struggled during Hollywood Week because of a cold, sang Richie’s own song “Still.” The song choice was a risk, and it didn’t pay off. Walker oversang it, and he was eliminated from the competition.
Singing “Latch” by Disclosure, Dimitrius sailed through to the top 20 with his impressive range and falsetto.
Ashley Hess sang “Feel a Way” by H.E.R., stepping out from behind the piano for the first time. She showcased impressive technical skills and stage presence. Bryan encouraged her to stick to the piano in the future. She made the top 20.
Drake McCain was eliminated from the competition after his performance of “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5. He just didn’t stand out, and the performance was forgettable. Perry said he was straining to hit all the notes.
Singing “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara, Kai the Singer didn’t hit all the notes she was going for and seemed to be affected by nerves. Bryan said she didn’t 100 percent nail every note. She was sent home.
Laci Kaye Booth’s rendition of the classic “Georgia on My Mind” earned her a spot in the top 20. She showcased a bluesy voice with a lot of character. Perry said the timing was right for her and sent her through to the top 20. “You are really special,” Perry said.
The news for Nick Townsend was not as good. He sang “Hold Back the River” by James Bay, and Bryan said it was a tough one during the judges’ deliberation. “You are tremendously talented,” Bryan added. But Townsend didn’t make the cut. Clay Paige, Kason Lester and Johanna Jones were also eliminated.
Walker Burrows got things turned around with his performance of “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer. He accompanied himself on the keyboard and sang a slowed-down arrangement. It suited his voice and stood out. He made it to the top 20.
Ryan Hammond also made the top 20 with his performance of “A Song for You.” He sang with a lot of emotion, and Perry let him know that he was in the top 20.
Singing “Royals” by Lorde, Kate Barnett also made the top 20. Evelyn Comiere also advanced with her performance of “No Roots” by Alice Merton. However, Emma Kleinberg was eliminated after her performance of “Is This Love?” by Bob Marley.
Uche sang “Play That Funky Music” and came alive onstage, giving one of the most energetic performances of the episode. He had fun ad libs and worked the stage well. He sailed through to the top 20.
Alejandro Aranda gave an emotional performance of “Yellow” by Coldplay, and it earned him a spot in the top 20. “You definitely have a different vibe,” Perry said, adding that he should keep taking risks. “We believe in you,” she said.
Singing “Landslide,” Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon also made the top 20. He sang with emotion and memorable vocals. Perry bonded with him over being the children of pastors. Harmon’s family does not accept that he’s gay. “I accept you, and I’m so proud of you,” Perry said. He advanced to the top 20.
Shayy sang “All I Ask” by Adele, and she sounded strong on the lower parts, but the judges thought there were some vocal issues. She was sent home. “But we love you,” Richie said. Mica Giaconi, Payton Taylor and Idalis Marie were also eliminated.
Riley Thompson sang “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert, delivering a straightforward pop-country performance. She advanced to the top 20. In truncated performances, Raquel Trinidad, Shawn Robinson and Bumbly also advanced.
Wade Cota secured a spot in the top 20 with his performance of Hozier’s “Work Song.” He made the song his own, and Perry noted how unique his voice is.
With four performers left, only two spots in the top 20 remained. Margie Mays didn’t make the cut with her performance of “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. However, Eddie Island made it through, singing “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia and putting a lot of his own spins on it.
Then it was down to Laine Hardy and Tyler Mitchell. They were fighting for the final spot in the top 20, and Hardy sang "Come Together" by The Beatles, while Mitchell sang "Suitcase" by Steve Moakler. Hardy made the top 20, and Mitchell was eliminated.
The top 20 will perform on Monday night.