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After cutting the competition in half Sunday night, judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan were back in their American Idol seats to watch the top 20 perform solos. Next week, the top 20 will team up with celebrities to perform duets, and the judges will use both the solos and duets to determine the top 14, who will go on to sing for America’s vote.
First up on solo night was Madison VanDenburg, singing “Domino” by Jessie J. It was a solid song choice that allowed her to showcase her range. Perry once again compared her to former Idol Kelly Clarkson.
Next was Shawn Robinson, singing “Jealous” by Nick Jonas. Perry encouraged him to sing in his lower register more, and Bryan was impressed by the way he showed off his voice in the performance.
Laine Hardy sang “Bring It On Home to Me” by Sam Cooke, putting a lot of grit behind his vocals. He performed with confidence and swagger, accompanying himself on the electric guitar. “You are literally commanding the stage,” Perry said.
Uche sang “Figures” by Jessie Reyez, staying in his falsetto at the top and then showcasing his lower register, too. It was a fun, memorable performance, and he showed off a lot of vocal ability. Richie declared he loved him. “Just keep finessing it,” Perry said.
Eddie Island got vulnerable with his arrangement of “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers, starting quietly and really building the momentum. “You can’t teach personality and authenticity and originality in your personality,” Bryan said.
Singing “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” Evelyn Cormier showcased artistry with her original take on the classic. Richie praised her singing style. Bryan said she was gaining a fan in him each week.
Next up, Alyssa Raghu gave an entertaining indie-rock performance of “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore. Her confidence has come a long way, and this song choice worked well for her in terms of putting on a show. Richie said that she was in her head too much for the first half but then let loose in the second half.
Ryan Hammond slowed things down a bit, singing “You Say” by Lauren Daigle. The ballad allowed him to really focus on the vocal, and he sounded strong throughout, also delivering an emotional performance. “You can elevate a room with just the power of your voice,” Bryan said.
Raquel Trinidad sang “Lovefool,” and Bryan said that once she hit the chorus things started picking up. Richie praised her quirkiness and authenticity. “The crowd is going to love you for you,” Richie said.
Logan Johnson sang “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” and Bryan unfortunately found it “sleepy.” Perry thought it started picking up at the end, but she compared his performance to just a rehearsal. Overall, they didn’t seem impressed with his solo.
Dimitrius Graham had a very dramatic start to his performance of “Hello” by Adele, and he continued to do a lot of stylization throughout his rendition, making for an original, memorable performance. “I had no idea where we were going,” Richie said. “I heard some notes tonight I had never heard come out of your mouth before. That is the way you’re supposed to do this show.”
Riley Thompson sang Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” starting slow and building. “I want a little bit more when it comes to your delivery of the vocal style,” Perry said. Bryan encouraged her to add more grit and angst.
Walker Burroughs sang “How Deep Is Your Love,” and Bryan said he was blown away, particularly by the a cappella start. “I love what you’re doing,” Richie said.
Bumbly sang “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey, showing off her range and giving an understated performance. Richie thought she was too in her head and encouraged her to relax and sing. Perry didn’t think it was the right song choice.
Ashley Hess sang at the piano for her performance of “When You’re Dreaming With a Broken Heart” by John Mayer, which she really made her own. “I thought I was at your show. I was literally lost in your performance,” Perry said. Bryan praised her mid-range.
Alejandro Aranda played acoustic guitar and gave a vulnerable, delicate performance of “I Fall Apart” by Post Malone. Bryan said there has never been anyone like him in the competition so far. “There has been nothing like you,” Richie said in agreement.
Kate Barnette sang a soulful rendition of “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 and accompanied herself on electric guitar. “That was dope!” Perry exclaimed, adding that it checked so many boxes. “It was all just so natural.”
Playing the piano, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon sang “Make You Feel My Love.” Richie said that he told the story and sucked them in on the first note. “That was a brilliant performance,” Richie added. “I’m just so beyond moved,” Perry added.
Laci Kaye Booth sang “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick, playing acoustic guitar. She gave a stripped-down performance that put her own twists on the song. “You just showed us a whole other level of confidence,” Perry said.
Closing out the top 20 solos, Wade Cota sang a gritty version of “All I Want” by Kodaline that impressed all of the judges. “A star is born,” Bryan said. The top 20 will sing celebrity duets Sunday on ABC.
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