American Idol featured 12 of the season's Top 24 contestants taking the stage and performing in the hope of earning a spot in the Top 14 during Sunday night's two-hour broadcast on ABC.

American Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan watched the following singers perform their hearts out: Cade Foehner, a 21-year-old college student from Shelbyville, TX; Gabby Barrett, a 17-year-old high school student from Pittsburgh, PA; Dominique, a 26-year-old legal secretary from Birmingham, AL; Catie Turner, a 17-year-old high school student from Langhorne, PA; and Michael J. Woodard, a 20-year-old bowling alley attendant from Philadelphia, PA.

The rest of Sunday night's performances were by Kay Kay Alexis, an 18-year-old from Nashua, NH; Layla Spring, a 16 high school student from Marion County, KY; Dennis Lorenzo, a 26-year-old singer from Philadelphia, PA; Brandon Diaz, a 21-year-old college student from Ashburn, VA; Jonny Brenns, an 18-year-old college student from St. Augustine, FL; Michelle Sussett, a 22-year-old waitress from Miami, FL; and Trevor McBane, a 22-year-old goat farmer from Savanna, OK.

These 12 contestants each performed a solo after being mentored by Bobby Bones, an on-air country radio personality, comedian and entertainer. Only seven of these singers will advance to the next round.

Katy told American Idol host Ryan Seacrest that the judges are looking for an "it factor" from the contestants as well as personality. The judges are trying to establish what type of "unique contribution" each contestant can bring to the table and to the entertainment industry, which is already jam-packed with talent.

"How will they cut through?" Katy questioned.

The night of performances kicked off with Dominique singing "Ain't Nobody" by Chaka khan and Rufus. He received a standing ovation from all three judges.

Katy kept repeating, "Wow," after the performance, saying, "Wow, forwards and backwards," and that Dominique "has arrived." Lionel said it was "a star-attraction performance," and Luke noted it was "awesome."

Next up was Layla Spring, who performed "A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride and also received a standing ovation from the judging panel.

Lionel said Layla took the judges' advice and "killed it," and Katy was impressed with her growth -- "leaps and bounds" -- from the start of the competition. Luke admitted Layla's personality is "infectious" and she's mature far beyond her years.

Catie then belted out "Call Me" by Blondie, which turned out to be a performance that also got the three judges on their feet clapping.

Luke said he "couldn't quit watching her," and that's exactly the type of person the judges are looking for. He also called her "quirky and crazy," but the judges never want her to change, especially because her voice is always on-point. Katy said Catie "owned it" and she had an "incredible presentation" and song choice.

Lionel acknowledged there's "something special" about Catie, and she has made the judges believers in her unique style.
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Dennis then took the stage with an interesting reggae rendition of "Rude" by Magic!.

Katy loved Dennis' connection to the song, but she confessed his choice didn't show off how well he can sing. Dennis clearly selected the song for stylist purposes, but the judges weren't blown away. Lionel also instructed Dennis to get rid of the microphone stand and pick songs more representative of who he is.

Luke, however, comforted Dennis by saying he "belongs on the stage" and is a "natural star." Dennis can do no wrong in Luke's eyes.

Viewers then watched Michelle perform "If I Were a Boy" by Beyonce. Katy stood up for the artist and clapped, and Luke said he loved her.

Lionel said her look and stage presence were all there and her decision to sing a verse in Spanish showed her "superstar ability."

Katy always expects Michelle to "set the stage on fire," but she suggested Michelle should "learn how to drive the Ferrari the right way," meaning the singer doesn't need to dance the whole time and could introduce more subtleties while singing.

Michael then sang "Golden Slumbers" by The Beatles, and he received a standing ovation from all three judges.

Luke admitted he loves Michael as a human being, and the judges agreed it's important for the artist to continue showing all of his nerves and emotions when performing because it's clear he's "meant" to do music. Katy added that Michael is "chosen," and Lionel called him a "genie in a bottle" because he's so "spectacular."

Next up was Trevor, who performed "Way Down We Go" by Kaleo.

Katy thought Trevor was like "a thunderbolt in a bottle," but she's waiting to see him "blow." Lionel agreed that while Trevor had the "concentration," he needs to be more relaxed onstage and let his vocals flow. Luke added that Trevor should "turn the horses loose" although his voice is definitely ready.

Jonny performed "Georgia" by Vance Joy, and Lionel acknowledged his "sexy [was] coming out" and he's "blooming." Lionel said Jonny needs to feel comfortable in his own skin but he's "coming alive." Katy explained that Jonny has "got it" and his song choice was perfect.

"You're a big star. You just don't quite all the way know it yet," Luke reasoned, adding that Jonny has "a smooth voice" nobody was expecting.

Kay Kay then took the stage with "Love On the Brain" by Rihanna, and she received a standing ovation from Katy, Lionel and Luke.

"You were just born as a star," Luke noted of the girl who previously came across as the American girl next door.

Katy told the singer that her "whole package has arrived" and she has "turned an important corner." Lionel added that she has "poise."

"If this is where you are now, I can't even imagine where you're going to take us," Lionel said.

Brandon was up next with a performance of "Hello" by Lionel himself.

Lionel said "wow" after the performance, and Katy said it was a very brave song choice. However, Brandon missed the mark. Katy said the performance fell somewhere between "a blessing and a curse" given it was Lionel's song -- which was a "daunting task," according to Luke.

Lionel wished Brandon had made the song his own, but he owned it at the end. Luke said it was not a flawless vocal.

Gabby was up next with a performance of "My Church" by Maren Morris, and she also received a standing ovation from the judging panel.

Lionel said he has never watched someone get to the end of a song and blow him away. He wanted more personality, however, throughout the whole song. Katy noted it was "super cool" what Gabby did, and Luke was happy because she had "shine, sparkle and an it factor."

Cade then closed the night of performances with "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix. Cade's rock and roll performance got a standing ovation from the judges, and Katy was absolutely wowed and speechless. The performance was so sexy, in fact, that Katy wondered if it was okay for ABC to air it!

However, Cade said it was definitely appropriate for Katy's minister parents given he's a minister as well.

"You sure are a minister, and you can preach to me any time you want," Katy gushed with a huge, flirty smile on her face.

Lionel had to tell Katy to pull herself together as she stared at Cade with a dreamy look on her face.

"Whether you are No. 1 and American chooses you, you are a star and just keep shining," Katy said.

Lionel added that Cade brought it all for that performance, including the necessary attitude and personality. The judges agreed it was very well done.

During the next American Idol episode on Monday night, these 12 contestants will each be paired with an all-star performer for a special duet. The participating all-stars are Pat Monahan, Andy Grammer, Bishop Briggs, Sugarland, Allen Stone, Luis Fonsi, and Aloe Blacc.

By the end of the April 9 broadcast, five contestants will be eliminated from American Idol's Season 16 competition. And the following week, the other half of the Top 24 artists will perform for the judges.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.