7:12pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'American Idol': Half of Top 24 Perform Solos for Judges
Twelve of the top 24 contestants sang solos before judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan on ABC's American Idol on Sunday night. After the same 12 singers perform again Monday night, singing duets with celebrities, five contestants will be eliminated. The remaining 12 will go through the same process next week. Perry said the judges were looking for what artists would do to stand out and prove that they could cut through the already packed industry. Contestants also received advice from iHeartRadio personality Bobby Bones.
The first singer up was Dominique, singing “Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better).” He set the bar high, bringing all three judges to their feet with his effortlessly cool and fun energy. “Dominique, welcome. You have arrived,” Perry said, adding that she felt like she was transported to a venue or club with his performance.
Young country singer Layla Spring was up next, and Bones told her heading into her performance that she shouldn’t lose her “kid energy.” She sang “A Broken Wing” by Martina McBride, which was definitely in her wheelhouse. “A big reason why you’re here is you’re infectious,” Bryan said, adding that she has taken some of their advice in order to improve.
Catie Turner followed, giving a lively performance of “Call Me” by Blondie. It was a great song choice that allowed her to show her entertainer quality. Her voice has stood out since the beginning, and on Sunday night she proved that she can also put on a good show while putting her own original twists on songs. All three judges were impressed with the performance.
Singing “Rude” by Magic!, Dennis Lorenzo went next. The song choice didn’t really allow him to show off his vocal range, but he was entertaining and confident onstage. Perry said he was singing with his whole heart. Richie wanted him to choose a better song next time, but he said he “brought the flavor.”
Dancer and singer Michelle Sussett took Perry’s advice to bring her culture into her performances by singing in Spanish. She sang “If I Were a Boy” by Beyoncé, putting her own spins on it with her runs and phrasing and also singing parts in Spanish. Perry said that the bilingual aspect was so powerful and that Sussett consistently lights the stage on fire.
Michael J. Woodard was up next, singing a gorgeous rendition of “Golden Slumbers” by The Beatles. It was understated and lovely, Woodard showcasing his soft, unique tone. The performance also had strong momentum. The judges were moved.
Trevor McBane gave a gritty performance of “Way Down We Go” by Kaleo. He showcased a strong sense of artistry and really came off like he knows who he wants to be as an artist. The judges still wanted a little more from him. “It’s hard to contain you,” Perry said, adding that she wants to see him take away all his constraints and really see him go all out.
Going the pop ballad route, Jonny Brenns sang “Georgia” by Vance Joy. His runs were solid, and he really shined when he slipped into his falsetto. “You’re blooming,” Richie said. Perry said she was encouraged to see how far he has come in the competition.
Kay Kay told Bones that she brings confidence to the table, and she certainly reiterated that in her performance of “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna. She took Bones and Perry’s advice to let go, delivering an emotional and raw performance with stunning runs. Bryan said she was born a star.
Brandon Diaz took a risk by singing Richie’s own “Hello.” It was another understated ballad that really allowed Diaz to show off his range and technical abilities. “You are so brave,” Perry said. Richie added that he was nervous for him and said that he didn’t really make it his own until the end. Richie took the mic himself and gave a little taste of his own singing, and Ryan Seacrest sang a bit, too.
Country music singer Gabby Barrett was next, singing “My Church” by Maren Morris. The performance built, leading to an exciting and dynamic ending. Perry and Richie were both blown away by the ending but said that Barrett should try to be a little more dynamic, building slowly. Bryan said she has shine.
The last singer of the night was rocker Cade Foehner, singing “All Along the Watchtower.” It was an appropriately theatrical performance and one of the best of the night. Foehner took vocal risks, and it paid off. He brought a lot of experience to the performance and was very charismatic. Perry in particular was blown away.
All of the contestants who sang solos on Sunday night will sing again on Monday night alongside seasoned celebrity artists. What did you think of tonight’s performances?