'American Idol' recap: Top 19 contestants announced and America to vote Grace Leer or Lauren Mascitti to the Top 20
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/06/2020
American Idol featured judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie determining the Top 19 contestants for Season 18 by advancing 11 more hopefuls from the Top 40 after the Showcase Round during Sunday night's Season 18 broadcast on ABC.
The Top 19 will officially become the Top 20 contestants once America votes for either Grace Leer, a 28-year-old in technology sales from Nashville, TN, or Lauren Mascitti, a 28-year-old RN from Nashville, TN, to advance.
American Idol's judges said they were so torn between the two female country singers that they decided to leave the decision up to home viewers.
The Showcase Round of solo performances in Hawaii, which was filmed back in January, featured each of the Top 40 contestants performing in front of a loud, cheering crowd.
After performing a solo, each hopeful learned his or her fate in the competition through the Final Judgment.
The 11 hopefuls who definitely received a spot in the Top 20 during Sunday night's episode were Franklin Boone, a 27-year-old music teacher from Durham, NC; Cyniah Elise, an 18-year-old high school student from Atlanta, GA; Kimmy Gabriela, a 17-year-old high school student from Lakeland, FL; 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; Aliana Jester, a 19-year-old server from Tampa, FL; Makayla Phillips, a 17-year-old high school student from Temecula, CA; Lauren Spencer-Smith, a 16-year-old high school student from Vancouver Island, Canada; Sophia Wackerman, a 20-year-old college student from Long Beach, CA; and Olivia Ximines, a 17-year-old high school student from Menifee, CA.
Those other eight contestants who advanced during last week's episode are Faith Becnel, a 20-year-old server from Destrehan, LA; DeWayne Crocker Jr., a 23-year-old worship leader from Pensacola, FL; Louis Knight, a 19-year-old pizza delivery guy from Philadelphia, PA; Francisco Martin, a 19-year-old college student from San Francisco, CA; Nick Merico, a 24-year-old server from Woodland Hills, CA, Just Sam, a 21-year-old subway singer from Harlem, NY; Jovin Webb, a 29-year-old musician from Gonzales, LA; and Jonny West, a 23-year-old piano teacher from Murietta, CA.
Sunday night's episode began where last week's broadcast had left off, with Dillon performing "The Times They Are a Changin'" by Bob Dylan.
Lionel told Dillon the judges had to cut some great talent but he was not going to be one of them. Dillon broke down into tears after hearing the good news, and Lionel told the singer the judges were "very proud" of him.
Genavieve Linkowski, a 21-year-old social media influencer from Goodrich, MI, took the stage with "You Say" by Lauren Daigle for the Showcase Round.
"You have really stepped up and grown a lot from the girl that we saw in Season 1. You had magic things about your voice that really, really stood out, and you came back this year and we can tell that you worked -- and those things were even better," Luke shared.
However, Luke admitted he didn't feel a connection with Genavieve during her final performance in Hawaii and that connection must be felt every time at this point in the competition.
"You can leave here with so much talent, so much promise and keep chipping away at it. I'm sorry to tell you, but you are not going through to the next round," Luke explained.
FOLLOW REALITY TV WORLD ON THE ALL-NEW GOOGLE NEWS!
Reality TV World is now available on the all-new Google News app and website. Click here to visit our Google News page, and then click FOLLOW to add us as a news source!
Franklin performed "Daughters" by John Mayer, and made the cut.
"We have to let some good people go. Fortunately, you're not one of them. You're going through to the Top 20, honey!" Katy gushed when Franklin was in the hot seat.
"You deserve a spot, and we appreciate what you gave us last night, which was a whole other level."
Julia sang "Glitter In the Air" by P!nk for her Showcase song.
Luke told Julia to remember she's a great singer and she should be confident.
"We still feel like you could go a long, long way -- maybe all the way. You are definitely in our Top 20 and definitely becoming a frontrunner. Push yourself every time. It's America's choice now!" Luke told the artist.
Aliana belted out "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman, and Lionel said the judges had every hope Aliana could live up to be the person they thought she could be. Aliana therefore advanced to the next round.
Sophia performed "Levels" by Nick Jonas in Hawaii.
"These gentlemen didn't necessarily agree," Katy said of Luke and Lionel. "I fought for you, okay? I fought for you. I think [your performance] was exciting... you are getting closer [to stardom] because you are going into the Top 10."
Robert Taylor, a 27-year-old door-to-door salesman from Donaldsonville, LA, took the stage with "Take Me To the Pilot" by Elton John. While Luke said Robert is "immensely talented," he revealed Robert was not going to make the Top 20 this year.
Luke and Katy asked Robert not to give up on his dreams, but Robert appeared devastated.
Kimmy performed "You Don't Do It For Me Anymore" by Demi Lovato for the Showcase Round.
"Kimmy, I'm going to tell it to you straight, because I'm a straight shooter. I think that when you first came in -- what are you? 17? That's crazy. You sound like a seasoned pro. You sound like you've been doing this for a thousand lifetimes," Katy said.
"[But] can I be honest with you? I don't remember you every single time you've gone up on that stage, and how is that? Because you have one of the best voices in this competition! It's not enough just to be a good singer. It's not!"
However, Katy advised Kimmy to mold her package and figure out how she's going to present herself to America before competing in the Top 20. Kimmy was thrilled -- but also in shock -- the judges chose not to send her home.
After several contestants were shown getting cut and falling short of their dream, Shannon Gibbons, a 20-year-old college student from Bellport, NY, belted out "Send My Love [To Your New Lover] by Adele and also received some bad news.
Although the judges thought Shannon did well and her voice boasted some cool vibes and grit, Katy told the hopeful, "You can't rely on the texture of your voice; there are a lot of great singers out there."
"So we're getting to a place where it's really hard and sometimes it doesn't make sense," Katy continued.
"We see your potential. Unfortunately, it's going to be the end of the American Idol journey for you. Your voice is so unique, but you seem to somehow blend in just a little bit."
Three talented ladies with big personalities then landed a spot in the Top 20 one after the next: Cyniah, Makayla, and Lauren S.
Cyniah belted out "Lady Marmalade" by Labelle in the hope of earning a spot in the Top 20, Makayla sang "Sorry Not Sorry" by Demi Lovato, and Lauren S. performed "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.
Olivia took the stage with "Proud Mary" by Tina Turner.
"You not only sing but you move. Your energy, your smile -- it was quite amazing. And I'm actually going to be the one to tell you that you need to call your high school and fill them in on what's going on, because you're in our Top 20," Lionel said.
Fan-favorite Arthur performed "Is This Love" by Bob Marley & The Wailers.
Katy admitted Arthur went in and out a little bit but there were moments in which the judges went on a journey with him. She just asked he keep his eyes open and let everyone in.
"I'm going to rip the Band-Aid off. You are pure light. You are pure light. Your job is to come and anoint the world with your gift," Lionel told Arthur.
"We've had some very hard decisions to make, but you, my friend, are probably the easiest decision we're going to make. You are in our Top 20 and you are our shining star."
Demi Rae, a 26-year-old nanny from San Jose, CA, sang "Lonely" by Noah Cyrus and felt she was on top of the world.
Katy told Demi that the judges were so proud of her but the American Idol journey had come to an end for her.
The judges then had to choose between Grace, who performed "[You Make Me Feel Like] A Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin, and Lauren M., who sang "Two More Bottles Of Wine" by Emmylou Harris.
There was only one spot left in the Top 20. Luke told Lauren M. she rocked the crowd but Grace was one of the winners of the night.
"We couldn't make a decision," Luke shared.
"We just couldn't agree," Lionel added.
"So you guys aren't out of the woods yet," Luke continued. "We're going to turn it over to America to watch your performance from last night and we're going to let them vote for who makes it into the Top 20."
Katy apologized for giving the girls more anxiety, but Lionel congratulated both women and said America would take control.
Home viewers were then asked to vote between Lauren M. and Grace to determine the official Top 20 contestants for American Idol's 18th season, who will eventually sing for America's votes.
However, the format in which the Top 20 contestants will perform has yet to be revealed since the live shows cannot be filmed in their typical in-studio fashion due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.