'American Idol' recap: Top 11 perform as Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie save Makayla Phillips
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/04/2020
American Idolhas revealed its Top 10 contestants based on America's votes, plus one Judges' Save, who performed from 25 remote locations across the continent during Sunday night's Season 18 episode on ABC.
America voted the following singers into the Top 10: Julia Gargano, a 21-year-old college student from Staten Island, NY; Arthur Gunn, a 21-year-old musician from Wichita, KS; Dillon James, a 26-year-old construction worker from Bakersfield, CA; Louis Knight, a 19-year-old pizza delivery guy from Philadelphia, PA; Grace Leer, a 28-year-old in technology sales from Nashville, TN; Francisco Martin, a 19-year-old college student from San Francisco, CA; Just Sam, a 21-year-old subway singer from Harlem, NY; Sophia Wackerman, a 20-year-old college student from Long Beach, CA, who now calls herself Sophia James; Jovin Webb, a 29-year-old musician from Gonzales, LA; and Jonny West, a 23-year-old piano teacher from Murietta, CA.
As the advancing artists were revealed one by one throughout the two-hour broadcast, they each got to sing a song that reminds them of home or inspires them of a place where they feel at home.
The contestants were mentored by country music radio host Bobby Bones, and they all performed with the hope of landing a spot in next week's Top 7 contestants.
Louis performed "In My Place" by Coldplay, and Katy said he's a star and it was a good song choice that made her escape to a better time, which is what America needs right now.
Luke admitted he wasn't "completely blown away" by Louis' vocals but he definitely has "star quality."
Julia sang "New York State Of Mind" by Billy Joel from her living room, and Luke said he was "speechless" and that might've been his favorite performance from the year this far.
"[That was] a 12 out of 10. What a moment of elegance and maturity and class and grace and beauty. Wow, great job!" Luke gushed.
Lionel said she had taken Billy Joel's song and made it her own. He called it "memorable" and "fantastic," and Katy agreed it was one of the best performances of the season.
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Katy said Julia showed off the dynamics in her voice and how talented she is as a singer.
Jovin sang "Voodoo" by Allen Stone, and Lionel loved that old-school sound coming out of his raspy tone. Lionel thought the performance had some magic behind it, and Katy said she could picture herself drinking an extra-dirty martini while Jovin performed.
Luke told Jovin that he doesn't always have perfect pitch but his believability compensates. However, Luke noted Jovin didn't hit a single bad note during that song and it was his best performance to date.
Grace serenaded home viewers with "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland.
Katy thought it was unusual because she was big and bold throughout the whole song, and Luke just showed she has a big, powerful voice and he loved the performance. And Lionel advised Grace to stay in her country lane and "kill it" going forward.
Jonny belted out "Faithfully" by Journey from his apartment's living room, and Luke said Jonny has an ability to make singing look easy despite delivering a wide range of notes, including falsetto movements.
Luke applauded Jonny for staying in his style, and Lionel said Jonny had gone from a shy guy to a sexy guy. Lionel loved hearing Jonny sing that song, and Katy said it seemed like Jonny was singing to a deeper level of love.
Katy told Jonny he had advanced to an "Alejandro level" of music, referencing American Idol's Season 17 runner-up Alejandro Aranda.
Sophia James sang "In My Room" by The Beach Boys from in her bedroom.
Lionel told Sophia she had done the work and found the sweet spot in her delivery, and Katy said her performance was next level and she's definitely going to have a career in music even if she doesn't win American Idol.
After Katy called the performance "amazing" and complimented her interpretation of the song, Luke dubbed her a "wonderful vocalist" and said he had found himself immersed in emotion.
Arthur impressed with "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver from his deck.
Katy said, "Wow," and acknowledged she felt so connected to the performance and Arthur had really worked the camera.
Lionel applauded Arthur for putting his own spin on the song and executing it in reggae-style, and Lionel added the twist was believable and Arthur is on his way to making a hit record.
Just Sam performed "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers in honor of her beloved grandmother who is always home to her.
Luke was impressed by the big notes Just Sam hit and he complimented the richness in her voice and how it holds up at all levels of her range.
Lionel gushed about Just Sam's beaming and shining smile, saying he's so proud of her.
And Katy said Just Sam reminded her of being in church and getting lost in a rhythm.
Dillon belted out "Yesterday" by The Beatles, and Lionel told the artist he has an absolute sound to his voice that is identifiable.
Lionel told Dillon to continue being himself, but Katy wished there was a little more breath in between Dillon's vocals. Katy advised Dillon to paint beyond the lines with his voice.
Luke wanted to see more from Dillon's artistry, saying the song could have been slowed down a bit with Dillon appearing more relaxed.
Francisco performed "Falling Like the Stars" by James Arthur.
Katy cried during Francisco's performance and said it was believable and she felt it. Luke dubbed Francisco "a diamond in the rough," saying he knows how to get all the emotion out of a song.
Lionel also gushed about Francisco flying out of her nervousness and delivering "true talent" to the world.
And finally, it became time for the Judges' Save.
The judges could choose between the following contestants: Makayla; Faith Becnel, a 20-year-old server from Destrehan, LA; Franklin Boone, a 27-year-old music teacher from Durham, NC; DeWayne Crocker Jr., a 23-year-old worship leader from Pensacola, FL; Cyniah Elise, an 18-year-old high school student from Atlanta, GA; Kimmy Gabriela, a 17-year-old high school student from Lakeland, FL; Aliana Jester, a 19-year-old server from Tampa, FL; Nick Merico, a 24-year-old server from Woodland Hills, CA; Lauren Spencer-Smith, a 16-year-old high school student from Vancouver Island, Canada; and Olivia Ximines, a 17-year-old high school student from Menifee, CA.
Ryan asked Lionel if the judges had decided to use their one Save of the season, and Katy admitted it was "very difficult" to make this decision.
However, the judges chose to save Makayla, who then performed "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert from her deck.
Katy repeatedly yelled, "Wow," and Luke said he fought for her because he wants America to hear her amazing voice. Lionel said she's a star and she's on her way, and Katy added that she had leaned into her performance.
"I felt like you were singing directly to me. It was an intimate performance, and you took our constructive criticism from last week and really applied it and it really showed growth," Katy explained.
"I'm glad you know how to pick a song that pulls at people's heartstrings and makes them feel warm and cozy, and that's what I was feeling when you were singing to me."
Next week's performance show will feature the Top 7 contestants performing Disney tunes.