American Idol featured the Top 14 contestants performing for home viewer votes and absolutely wowing judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan during Sunday night's two-hour performance show on ABC.

"The buzz surrounding these Idols is insane this year!... Fans and critics are calling this group the best in Idol history," host Ryan Seacrest announced at the top of the show.


"[Viewers] at home have a hard task ahead of you. Tonight they'll perform a song of their choosing for your votes, and tomorrow, we'll reveal who gets the seven spots... and the judges will each pick one of their favorites as well to round out the Top 10."

Laine Hardy, an 18-year-old musician from Livingston, LA, took the stage first with "That's Alright Mama" by Elvis Presley with the guitar.

"Oh my gosh, Laine, you know your strengths and you're playing them well. It's so exciting to see you grow," Katy said.

"It's so exciting to see a good looking man step into his shining personality."

Luke, however, wants to see Laine continue to "shake out," "get a little looser" and let go completely just like Elvis would. But Luke called the singer's delivery and confidence "unbelievable."

Lionel added that Laine is "on fire" and he should just continue doing whatever he's doing.

Evelyn Cormier, a 19-year-old teacher from Claremont, NH, sang "The Middle" by Jimmy Eats World.

Luke said she elevated the game and loved her "Van Halen leg kick."

"Just when we think we have someone pegged, we like to see a whole other element," Luke noted. "Great job."

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Lionel agreed, "That's what show business is all about," adding that Evelyn continues to show new sides of herself.

As for Katy, she thought the song was a great choice for Evelyn, saying it was "a crowd pleaser" and she appeared so relaxed onstage. Katy thanked Evelyn for "taking a chance because it really paid off."

Alyssa Raghu, a 16-year-old high school student from Orlando, FL, performed "She Used To Be Mine" by Sara Bareilles.

"The sauce is on fire," Lionel gushed. "Every time you come out, you give us a little more of a peek into your growth... You have now gone to that next stage, and I hope America understands the work you've put in."

Katy felt she was at Alyssa's concert and admitted she's a fan.

"You gave it all to us," Katy said, advising Alyssa to play with the dynamics of her songs a little bit more before blowing them up.

Luke thought the performance was angelic and perfect, but he said, "Make sure you keep the audience engaged through the whole performance."


Eddie Island, a 25-year-old rideshare driver from Nashville, TN, took the stage next with a performance of "Benny and the Jets" by Elton John.

Katy thought the performance was "really good," confessing she felt overwhelmed by the energy.

Commenting on Eddie's obvious nerves, Katy suggested, "Don't forget that you're such a magnificent singer. I just heard the Counting Crows in your voice."

Luke explained Eddie always manages to make the judges smile and joked his wild, colorful ensemble looked like something taken out of Katy's trailer.

After Luke said Eddie needs to stay on top of his vocals, Lionel gushed, "All I'm going to say is, isn't it great being different?!"

Lionel told Eddie to lock into his current artistry and style because it's "on point" and he's on the right path.

Riley Thompson, a 16-year-old high school student from Mabank, TX, sang "Suds In a Bucket" by Sara Evans for her Top 14 performance.

"Wow! Wow!" Lionel gushed.

"How does it feel becoming a star?" Luke asked, complimenting her song choice and vocal range.

Lionel said Riley attacked and crushed the song, telling her to "keep it up."

Katy noted Riley was growing up right before their eyes and pushing herself to the next level. Riley owned the stage, and Katy was shocked by her presence.

Wade Cota, a 27-year-old musician from Phoenix, AZ, then belted out "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne.

Lionel called him "the hammer" and absolutely loved his performance.

Katy said Wade picked the right song and it was "amazing," "emotional" and "strong." She believes in his voice.

Luke noted Wade used his entire body to sing the song and it was "a spiritual moment" that fired up both the judges and the live crowd.

Dimitrius Graham, a 27-year-old retail associate from Baltimore, MD, was up next, and he chose to sing "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran with a little R&B mix to the arrangement.

"You've really developed into an artist," Katy told Dimitrius.

"I can see the artist that you want to be -- that you are... [but] don't forget to make the hairs on my arm stand up and use that emotion... Sing for you life. You are a miraculous singer and an incredible artist."

Luke advised the singer to work the microphone more and take the crowd on a ride.

Lionel said there's an "explosive" quality Dimitrius has that can't be taught, and that's his ability to suck a person into his vocals.

"Give us that for the rest of your career," Lionel added.

Madison Vandenburg, a 17-year-old high school student from Cohoes, NY, belted out "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys.

"Superstar! You just really made a statement. Listen, become a diva now," Luke told the contestant.

Lionel joked they needed security on the set because the crowd went crazy. He yelled that she killed the performance.

"We love Kelly Clarkson, but you just carved out your own niche. You are your own person. That performance was Madison through and through... It was unstoppable. Please keep giving that and more," Katy gushed.

Jeremiah Lloyd Haron, a 26-year-old music teacher from Catonsville, MD, then sang "We All Fall In Love Sometimes" by Elton John.

"You took an Elton John song, passed Freddie Mercury, and you Jeremiah'ed the whole thing," Lionel yelled.

"You went to a Z flat somewhere up there passed Pluto or Mars... It was amazing. You're voice is amazing and your career is going to be amazing."

Katy was in tears because she was so proud of Jeremiah. She said he's "such a gift" and "a light to the world."

"Your talent supersedes all," Katy cried.

And Luke -- who got choked up as well -- added, "I'm not worthy to be sitting here watching."

Luke could picture Jeremiah's face on a billboard for his future concert.

Even Seacrest was taken with the level of talent more than halfway through the performance show.

"Never have I ever seen back to back brilliant performances on this show," the host announced.

Uche Ndubizu-Egwimis, a 24-year-old wedding singer from Sugar Land, TX, then switched things up by singing "Finesse" by Bruno Mars.

Katy gestured to dropping the mic and then laid flat onto the judges' table as everyone cheered loudly.

"Excuse me, are we allowed to show that performance on television?" Katy joked. "Whatever happens in this competition, just keep swinging. You are going to hit your lucky star. You've come so far, it's miraculous."

Luke felt he was watching the opening to an awards show, and Lionel gushed about how wonderful he is.

"You are the showstopper! Keep that going!" Lionel yelled.

Alejandro Aranda, a 24-year-old dishwasher from Pomona, CA, then performed "One Dance" by Drake.

"From the start of this competition, in my eyes, you can do no wrong," Luke told the singer.

Alejandro transformed into a deejay on the stage and Lionel was impressed by the contestant's versatility.

And Katy called Alejandro "incredibly smooth," reminding America that he's "a real, true artist." However, she reminded him to continue growing, nurturing his talent and challenging himself.

Ashley Hess, a 27-year-old dental hygienist from Fremont, CA, took the stage with "Fix You" by Coldplay.

Lionel thought the performance was very, very strong, and Katy noted, "To me, you look like Diana Krall, and you sound like Carole King."

Katy believes Ashley is a true singer and songwriter, and the judge thought she sounded amazing.

Luke felt spoiled by the night of performances and thought Ashley sang a song that's true to herself and her image.

Laci Kaye Booth, a 23-year-old college student from Livingston, TX, then performed "I Miss You" by Blink 182.

Katy told Laci Kaye she sings "timelessly" and is "the definition of Idol," in her own opinion. Katy admitted she's her "No. 1 fan."

Luke noted nothing was going to stop Laci Kaye from coming this far, and Lionel pointed out, "This is a big, special moment... You have really blossomed."

And Walker Burroughs, a 20-year-old college student and resident assistant from Birmingham, AL, closed the show with a performance of "Climb Every Mountain" from The Sound of Music.

Luke acknowledged it was an "interesting" song choice but he brought some excellent high notes and left the audience wanting more.

"You brought the whole house down and got the whole house standing," Luke said, admitting it was a very difficult song to sing.

Lionel pointed out Walker has gained incredible confidence, and then Katy told the singer he belted out notes the judges have never heard before.

"You literally climbed every step of that mountain of a song... This is your purpose," Katy determined.

On Monday night, the Top 10 artists for American Idol's seventeenth season will be announced based on America's votes and the judges' three picks to advance. 

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.