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Following last week’s top 20 performances filmed in the contestants’ homes, the American Idol pool was chopped in half on Sunday night. The top 10 voted through by viewers had to sing virtual, at-home performances again, and judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie provided remote feedback. The judges also opted to use their one save of the season to form a top 11.
Former Idol Phillip Phillips opened the ABC show with his very fitting song “Home,” and then the first results were announced. Louis Knight was voted through, and for his next at-home performance, he sang “In My Place” by Coldplay, accompanying himself on the keyboard while his family watched. He brought the emotion, but it wasn’t the most vocally impressive. “It pulled at my heartstrings,” said Perry, while Bryan said he wasn’t completely blown away.
Also voted through was Julia Gargano, who gave a gritty performance of “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel, showing off her tone and ad libs. It was a good song choice, and Bryan went so far as to call it his favorite performance of the year to date, giving it a 12 out of 10. Richie said she made it her song.
Jovin Webb delivered another smooth and captivating performance, singing “Voodoo” with an impressive delivery. “It’s magic,” Richie said. Perry said she felt transported by the performance. “You did not hit one bad note,” Bryan added.
Grace Leer also advanced, singing “Over the Rainbow” in an understated and technically impressive performance. She put some of her country twang into it, and Perry said she had never heard her voice like that before: “It was like you were singing to thousands.”
Jonny West sang “Faithfully” by Journey while playing the keyboard for his performance, and he put a lot of soul into it. Bryan praised his ability to make it seem effortless and commended his “well-placed falsetto moments.”
Also voted through, Sophia James sang an understated and intimate arrangement of “In My Room” by The Beach Boys. She also played the keyboard. “You’ve done the work in terms of sussing out where your delivery sweet spot is,” Richie said. “It was so upper-echelon,” Perry added.
Arthur Gunn joined the advancing artists, giving a performance of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver while playing the guitar. He made it his own with his signature tone and sound. “I felt so much more connected to that performance,” Perry said. “That was amazing.” He definitely put his own spin on the popular country hit.
Singing “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers and dedicating it to her own grandmother, Just Sam made it through. It was another really strong song choice, and Just Sam has completely come into her own. Perry again felt transported, and Bryan praised her range.
Also voted through was Dillon James, who sang an up-tempo arrangement of “Yesterday” by The Beatles and played the guitar. He had a lot of runs and ad libs. “You have an absolute sound to your voice,” Richie said. Perry wanted more breath to it, and Bryan agreed.
The last artist to get voted through was Francisco Martin, who sang “Falling Like the Stars” by James Arthur and played the guitar. It was an emotional and tight performance. “You really know how to get a lot of emotion out of the song,” Bryan said. Richie gave a shout-out to Martin’s mother, who is a first responder nurse.
The judges then opted to use their one save of the season on Makayla Phillips, who sang “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert after securing her spot in the top 11. She got emotional about being able to advance. “I’m so glad you came back to allow America hear how great of a singer you are,” Bryan said of the 17-year-old singer.
Lauren Spencer-Smith, Franklin Boone, DeWayne Crocker, Cyniah Elise, Kimmy Gabriela, Aliana Jester, Faith Becnel, Nick Merico and Olivia Ximines were eliminated from the competition. The top 7 will be revealed and sing against next week.
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