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The first half of the top 24 American Idol contestants who performed solos on Sunday night performed celebrity duets on Monday night. Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan then eliminated five singers based on both performances. The second half of the top 24 will go through the same process next week.
Catie Turner teamed up with pop singer-songwriter Andy Grammer to sing a duet of Grammer’s own song “Good to Be Alive.” It was a very strong start to the evening of duets, with Turner and Grammer working together to put on an entertaining show. But Turner also sounded great throughout, showing off her unique indie sound. “You are such a natural,” Perry said.
Rocker Cade Foehner sang next with singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs, covering “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS. Foehner seemed very experienced and confident onstage, lighting it up for the second night in a row. “You want to come on tour?” Bryan joked with Foehner. “Just keep doing your deal.”
Young country singer Layla Spring was partnered with country music duo Sugarland. “She’s a young kid in control of her instrument,” said Jennifer Nettles, impressed by the teen in their rehearsal. They gave a fun and peppy country performance with a lot of personality, Spring once again proving she is seasoned beyond her years. “We’re watching a child here that we’re going to be seeing entertain people for a very, very long time,” Bryan said. “You’re the bravest person I know,” Richie said.
Dominique was up next, singing with soul and funk star Aloe Blacc. They sang “Wake Me Up,” and while they started out singing it pretty straight, they ended up doing more interesting vocals toward the end, building momentum to the performance. Dominique is another very natural performer, but he’s also incredibly versatile. “This is an American idol right here,” Blacc said right after their performance. “This is getting very difficult,” said Perry, adding that everyone was delivering too well for them to make the incoming cuts.
Brandon Diaz teamed up with Latin pop singer Luis Fonsi to sing Fonsi’s hit “Despacito.” It was Diaz’s best performance to date, and even though Spanish isn’t his first language, he seemed very comfortable singing in it. “Great song choice,” Bryan said. “You’ve shown us so many different shades of you,” said Perry, adding that being able to sing in Spanish is something that gives him an edge in the competition.
Kay Kay and Train lead singer Pat Monahan were up next, singing “Drive By.” Kay Kay is used to singing a capella, so she was a little nervous about singing with a band and struggled in rehearsal. But she came through in the final performance, and while it wasn’t as stellar as her performance on Sunday night, it was solid. “The energy was fun,” Bryan said.
Briggs took the stage again, this time with Trevor McBane. They sang “River,” and McBane definitely showed off a different, softer side of his voice. It was a unique performance for him, and it worked, showcasing his versatility. “That was the real deal,” Richie said. “We love your vibe,” said Bryan, adding that he’s consistent.
Fonsi came back for a duet with Michelle Sussett, singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The song choice allowed them to deliver a powerful and moving lyrical interpretation, and since Sussett tends to skew more upbeat, it was interesting to see her show a different side of her singing. Bryan said he felt like a fan, and Richie said their voices blended perfectly together.
Grammer came back to sing with Jonny Brenns, performing “Back Home.” The song choice suited Brenns’ tone, even though it isn’t the most dynamic song vocally. Bryan said he wanted to polish him on his stage work, but also added that he has shown that he is learning a lot week-to-week.
Dennis Lorenzo was paired with soul singer Allen Stone to sing a duet of the song Lorenzo originally auditioned with, “Unaware.” They gave a stripped-down performance that really let Lorenzo show off his voice, which sounded especially strong in his falsetto. “That was spectacular,” Richie said. Bryan said he keeps showing so many new things in his arsenal.
Monahan returned to sing a duet of “Angel in Blue Jeans” with Michael J. Woodard, whose gorgeous, delicate tone was on full display. His technical skills were at the forefront, but he also proved once again that he’s a great performer. “You’re just a beautiful chameleon,” said Perry, praising his heart and authenticity.
For the final duet of the night, Nettles teamed with Gabby Barrett to sing Sugarland’s “Stay.” Together they gave an emotional performance that solidified Barrett as a strong storyteller. Bryan said she nailed it from top to bottom.
With the performances done, it was time for the judges to announce which seven artists would be advancing to the next round to sing for America’s vote. Foehner, Sussett, Lorenzo, Barrett, Brenns, Woodard and Turner all made the cut; Spring, McBane, Dominique, Diaz and Kay went home.
The remaining top 24 will perform their solos and duets next week. What did you think of Monday night’s results?