We’ve come to the first live results show of American Idol’s 16th season, and ABC is going to stretch the drama out for two very long hours, folks. At stake for the remaining 14 contestants are spots in the slimmer, trimmer Top 10. That means it’s adios to four familiar faces by the end of the night.
Making up the Top 10 will be the six contestants voted through by viewers after Sunday (April 22) night’s episode, and four picked by judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. But before that, all 14 will get to sing one more time, whether they made the Top 10 or not.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it.
Ryan Seacrest lets Maddie know that her performance of “Homeward Bound” the prior evening was a hit with viewers, and she was voted into the Top 10. Before she takes a seat in the so-called “victory zone,” Maddie performs The Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian.”
Michelle is not as fortunate as Maddie. America didn’t go for her this time, but she gives a spirited performance of an original ballad called “I’m A Dreamer,” in a bid to sway the judges to keep her in the competition. Katy tells Michelle she believes in her, which is a good sign for her prospects later tonight. For now, she takes a seat in the “danger zone.”
It’s also a “no” from America for Marcio, who clearly seems rattled when Ryan gives him the bad news. His shaky performance of Nick Jonas’ “Jealous” pretty much seals his fate. Luke tells Marcio it’s not the strongest thing the judges have seem from him, and when Lionel starts giving the contestant whimsical life advice passed down from his father, you know there probably isn’t going to be a life raft tossed Marcio’s way.
It’s no surprise when Cade makes it through to the Top 10, since his unhinged rocker shtick is at least unique enough to keep him in the minds of the everyday Idol voter. The guitar-playing Texan tears his way through Gary Clark Jr.’s “Bright Lights,” before taking a seat with Maddie in the victory zone.
Garrett’s talent just isn’t where it needs to be this far into the competition. America doesn’t think he’s Top 10 material, and so he’s left to give a milquetoast performance of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” that’s almost guaranteed to not do him any favors with the judges.
Pittsburgh country gal Gabby is the third contestant to be voted into the Top 10. She struts her way through a spunky take on Miranda Lambert’s “Little Red Wagon” that prompts Katy to ask, “I wanna know one thing: what did you eat for dinner? Because that was so wild!”
Dennis finds out he was not voted by viewers into the Top 10, but he’s the first contestant to give a performance worthy of getting a saving vote from the judges in return. His soulful take on Maxwell’s version of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” certainly catches Luke’s attention: “Dennis, I am gonna fight for you, buddy.” Lionel adds that America “doesn’t know what they’re doing.”
You just know it’s all over for this guy. Jonny is not voted into the Top 10 by America, and though his rendition of Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” gets a positive response from Luke, there’s just not enough individuality there for anyone with the ability to save him to connect with.
Caleb Lee Hutchinson
It’s a “yes” for the Top 14’s resident country boy. Suddenly the Top 10 is starting to look very blond-haired and blue-eyed, y’all. Ironically, though he’s in no danger of being sent packing this week, Caleb croons Chris Young’s “Gettin’ You Home.”
America didn’t go for young Mara, either. It’s now on the judges to consider her soulful performance of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” for a save. “I’m still in shock that America didn’t vote you through, but way to get up there and sing your tail off,” Luke tells the 16 year old.
The rest of the viewing public was equally as displeased as I was with Jurnee’s song choice of “Bang Bang” the other night, so she’s off to the danger zone. Before she takes a seat, she gives another so-so performance, this time of the Greatest Showman tune “Never Enough.” “Never have I ever seen a more qualified woman for the job still not get the job,” Katy states. “What’s the disconnect, America?”
Michael J. Woodard
The fifth person America went for turns out to be Michael. A show like Idol really needs his combination of bizarre energy and on-point musical taste. I don’t see him standing on stage in the season finale, but hopefully Michael ekes out some type of long-lasting career after all these shenanigans are over. He sings “Believe in Yourself” from The Wiz, and it’s absolute perfection.
American Idol loves a good nail biter. Between Catie and Ada Vox, one is sent to the victory zone and one lands in the danger zone. When Ryan announces Catie as the contestant viewers voted to make the Top 10, I realize we live in a land of confusion. Her mediocre performance of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” does nothing to change my mind.
Here we are, then, with Ada singing the Jennifer Holliday standard “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” from Dreamgirls, in a bid to get the judges to mercifully use one of their four saving votes. Emotions are running high for all the contestants, and Ada’s vocals are all over the place as a result. But the passion shines through enough to get Katy, Lionel and Luke on their feet. All three spontaneously decide, without a break to deliberate, that Ada will be their first pick to move on to the Top 10.
In addition to Ada Vox, the judges also toss bones to Jurnee, Michelle Sussett and Dennis Lorenzo. It’s time, then, to wave goodbye to Mara Justine, Marcio Donaldson, Garrett Jacobs and Jonny Brenns.
The Top 10:
Caleb Lee Hutchinson
Michael J. Woodard
Per Ryan Seacrest, next week will see Idol become first competition show in American television history to let viewers watch and vote live in every single time zone.