It’s Disney night already? Of course it is, viewers, for American Idol airs on ABC, which is owned by Disney, so best trot the Top 10 off to Disneyland for a night of magic and Rebel Wilson ASAP. Fair-haired funny lady Rebel, by the way, is guest mentor, because this must be what appearing in three Pitch Perfect movies gets you.
Real-time voting is back, which means America can support their faves as Idol airs over the same two-hour stretch in every time zone, with votes being tallied and two contestants getting the axe before the final credits roll. Also, judge Katy Perry is dressed up as Ursula the sea witch from The Little Mermaid, while Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan are fully costumed as Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. Magical.
Uché, “I 2 I” (from A Goofy Movie)
I have a vague recollection of 1995’s A Goofy Movie, which is more than Rebel Wilson can say. She finds Uché’s song choice to be “a bit obscure.” It’s a risky move, since America didn’t vote for Uché last week (though he was ultimately rescued as Lionel’s wildcard pick). But Rebel believes he can bring a good energy to his performance. And that he does, while wearing vinyl and leather. During her critique, Katy admits to Uché that she doesn’t know the song very well but loves “the kind of magic you bring to the stage.”
Laci Kaye Booth, “I See The Light” (from Tangled)
For me, Laci has become kind of a one-note performer. It’s a pleasant note, but there’s no excitement, pizzazz or even danger to be found in the blonde hopeful. Disney night and Laci’s snoozy choice of Tangled ballad “I See The Light” do little to change that, but the judges fawn over her anyway. “You’re becoming a Disney princess in front of our eyes,” Luke gushes.
Alejandro Aranda, “Remember Me” (from Coco)
Alejandro is up front with Rebel about not knowing the lyrics to “Remember Me,” though he’s fairly certain he can wing it and be fine. He does a full-on rearrangement of the Oscar-nominated Coco tune that doesn’t quite pan out into something amazing, especially when the electronic drum beat kicks in and drowns out Alejandra’s vocals toward the end. But again, either I’m living in the Twilight Zone or the judges are, because they all love it.
Alyssa Raghu, “Colors of the Wind” (from Pocahontas)
The Sauce just comes right out with her thoughts on this week’s guest mentor: “Working with Rebel Wilson… I didn’t even know what that was.” She actually does an exceptional job with “Colors of the Wind,” which shows she put in the work after only making the Top 10 via Katy’s wildcard save last week. “Way to come out here and fight after surviving last week,” Luke says. Lionel further commends Alyssa for being “the most gorgeous fighter on the planet.”
Lea Michele next hits the stage up to sing “Part of Your World” in a preview of the upcoming live version of The Little Mermaid that will be staged at the Hollywood Bowl. Alrighty, then.
Wade Cota, “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” (from Toy Story)
Rebel feels “instantly sympathetic” for Wade, “being a plus-sized performer myself.” On the other hand, I just keep wondering how Wade made it this far in the competition, given the far better vocalists who have fallen by the wayside before him. He lends his rasp to Randy Newman’s Toy Story chestnut “You’ve Got A Friend In Me,” which sends the judges over the moon. Lionel tells Wade he has an instantly identifiable voice, while Katy notes that he did Randy Newman proud.
Dimitrius Graham, “You’ll Be In My Heart” (from Tarzan)
Like Uché and Alyssa, Dimitrius Graham nearly went home last week, but he wound up being Luke’s wildcard pick for the Top 10. I’m still wildly annoyed that Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be In My Heart” beat out Aimee Mann’s Magnolia gem “Save Me” for best original song at the Oscars in 2000, so I’ve got an eyebrow raised over this song choice. Dimitrius does his best with it and goes down on one knee after an emotional performance. He tells host Ryan Seacrest that he dedicated the song to his mother.
Walker Burroughs, “When She Loved Me” (from Toy Story 2)
I love that the contestants are just as confused about Rebel Wilson mentoring them as I am. “Meeting Rebel for the first time was very odd,” Walker says. He plays piano and sings “When She Loved Me” in the first perfect performance of the night. Katy says the Harry Potter lookalike transported her to another time and place. Luke hopes America understands how difficult it is for Walker to play piano and hit all the right notes while singing.
Then Maddie Poppe and Caleb Lee Hutchinson randomly show up to remind viewers that they were Idol’s winner and runner-up last season, respectively. They give a dreary performance of Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” before disappearing from the screen, possibly forever.
Madison VanDenburg, “How Far I’ll Go” (from Moana)
Following up Walker is a hard task, but Madison holds her own with Moana standout “How Far I’ll Go.” During rehearsal, Rebel makes the teenager sit in a bathtub to test out the acoustics, which makes me wonder if the Isn’t It Romantic star is running out of ways to fill up her time slot. In the end, Katy informs Madison that she’s “really stepped into her power.”
Laine Hardy, “Oo-De-Lally” (from Robin Hood)
Slick Laine does his Bayou rock and roll razzle dazzle with this oddball song choice. It somehow works. This is, after all, the contestant who asked many weeks ago in Hawaii if we all wanna party with a Hardy, and made that a memorable catchphrase despite not repeating it since. Anyway, Lionel tells Laine he’s found his wheelhouse, while Katy and Luke go so far as to say he could very well win this season.
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, “Candle on the Water” (from Pete’s Dragon)
Jeremiah’s sister only got married 11 days ago, but she still shows up at Disneyland to support her brother. (Getting a Mickey Mouse-themed honeymoon to boot can’t hurt, can it?) Rebel advises Jeremiah to add a sultry flavor and rip off the hoodie he’s wearing during their rehearsal. Alas, he does not repeat this move on stage. Instead, he gives a good, but not out-of-the-ballpark, performance of “Candle on the Water” that has Lionel telling Jeremiah he is “just owning his talent.”
ELIMINATED: It’s no surprise when last week’s three wildcard picks wind up in the bottom three. Alyssa ultimately managed to get enough votes to stay in the Top 8, and so it’s the end of the road for Uché and Dimitrius. The judges keep their final save for another week.
Next up, Monday (April 22) night sees Idol alum Adam Lambert return for a Queen-themed episode.