American Idol's Top 3 finalists sang in the final performance show, attempting to win America's votes ahead of the season finale, and the first half of Sunday night's show on ABC wasn't pretty.

American Idol's finale will feature Gabby Barrett, Caleb Lee Hutchinson or Maddie Poppe being crowned the winner.

During Sunday night's broadcast, each finalist got to perform three songs -- an encore performance from this season, a song dedicated to each artist's hometown, and an original single written and recorded for each finale contender.

The original song will be the first single for American Idol's Season 16 winner. However, all three artists had trouble delivering their original songs, and judge Katy Perry was brutally honest with them.

For the first round, Caleb's original single was called "Johnny Cash Heart."

Katy said she adores Caleb and how far he's come in the competition. She said it was an "interesting song" but wished Caleb had embodied the song more and made it his own. Katy admitted that the artist did not make her a believer with that performance.

"I actually feel it was your weakest performance I've ever seen," Katy confessed, but I love you."

Judge Luke Bryan agreed Caleb looked tight and stiff onstage and needed to be more relaxed and fun loving.
Gabby then performed her single "Rivers Deep."

Luke said it was clear she wasn't entirely comfortable with the song, and Katy noted the end of Gabby's performance was better than the beginning. 

Judge Lionel Richie then pointed out how songs can sound a lot better in the studio than they do live onstage. Lionel said great song selection is important but will come with time and experience.

And Maddie Poppe sang her new single "Going Going Gone."

Luke said it was "a solid performance," and Lionel agreed she did "a fabulous job." But Katy reminded the artist American Idol "is like a bubble" and she needs to bring her A-Game once she's in "the big leagues." Katy wants to see Maddie thrive, not just survive, in the music industry.

Round 1 went to Maddie, but Lionel summed up the three performances simply as "massive discomfort."
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For Round 2 of encore performances, Caleb kicked things off with "Don't Close Your Eyes" by Keith Whitley.

Lionel said his voice was "solid as a rock" and he owned the song. Katy noted there was a huge difference between the two performances and his "amazing, textured voice" shined.

Katy explained that although the week's mentor, Bobby Bones, thought the judges were "harsh" during Round 1, she owes it to Caleb to tell him the truth since she cares for him and is invested in the artist he's going to be.

Gabby then belted out "Little Red Wagon" by Miranda Lambert. Katy called the performance "awesome" and said her growth throughout the competition is so obvious through her interactions with people and comfort onstage.

Maddie was up next with her original song, "Don't Ever Let Your Children Grow Up." Lionel gushed about how she owned her style, and Katy said she loved how Maddie took a risk and showed how she's a real songwriter and "authentic as heck."

The judges thought Caleb won Round 2, but Katy revealed she expected Gabby to have a "full-on takeover" in the third round.

"The first round I thought was a disaster and the second, I think they got their confidence back. I'm waiting to see why they make the Top 3 in this last round. Wake up!" Katy said before Round 3 commenced.

Round 3 featured the finalists each performing a song dedicated to his or her hometown.

Caleb sang "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash for Dallas, GA, and he received a standing ovation from the judging panel.

Lionel said Caleb was right in his wheelhouse and was "so convincing," and Katy pointed out how fun the performance was.

Gabby then performed "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey in honor of Pittsburgh, PA. She also got all three judges up on their feet.

Luke said Gabby is "one of the best singers" he's ever heard and she proves that over and over again.

And Maddie took the stage with "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac as a tribute to Clarksville, IA.

Lionel said it was "amazing," and Luke thanked her for being inspiring. The night ended with Katy getting on her phone and telling Maddie, "I'm voting for you."

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.