Monday night on American Idol, the newly-minted top 20 delivered their solo performances in front of a live audience at The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Proving this season's competition is going to be tougher than ever, almost every single one of the contestants impressed judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. Even host Ryan Seacrest admitted he had chills.
Here are some of the highlights:
After Madison VanDenburg kicked things off with an energetic performance of “Domino,” by Jessie J, Katy Perry once again compared her to Kelly Clarkson. But can Madison win it all like Kelly? She was able to work the crowd, but the judges want to hear even more big notes from her.
Shawn Robinson brought the judges to their feet with his pitch perfect rendition of Nick Jonas’ “Jealous,” complete with a surprising high note.
Laine Hardy, sporting an Elvis Presley inspired new look and an electric guitar, lent his signature rasp to Sam Cooke’s “Bring It on Home to Me.” He started off slow and then kicked up the tempo, to the delight of the judges. Lionel was digging his new look and Katy said he commanded the stage.
Uche brought his swagger to the stage for a soulful performance of “Figures” by Jessie Reyez. His presence was so show-stopping it literally made Katy swoon -- she dropped to the ground when he was finished.
Dimitrius Graham momentarily confused the judges when he kicked off Adele’s “Hello” with an operatic note. But the unconventional start gave way to a beautiful performance of the song.
Walker Burroughs brought his boy-next-door charm to “How Deep Is Your Love,” by the Bee Gees, and the judges and the crowd ate it up. Luke said he was blown away and Katy gave Walker some key advice: “If you dress like Harry Potter and you sing, YOU WILL WIN THIS SHOW!”
Alejandro Aranda was already a judges favorite, but he continued to impress with probably the most unique performance of the night. With his trusty acoustic guitar and a killer musical arrangement, he put his own spin on Post Malone’s “Fall Apart.” “I am not worthy to critique you,” Luke said. Katy added, “You’re so much cooler than us.”
The judges also continued to love Laci Kaye Booth, who put her country stamp on Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me”; Ashley Hess, who showed her professionalism on the piano with John Mayer’s “Dreaming with a Broken Heart”; Wade Cota’s gravelly delivery on Kodaline’s “All I Want”; and Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, who showed his tender musical skills on “Make You Feel My Love,” by Bob Dylan.
As for some of the critiques: Bumbly sang “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey, while Alyssa Ragu performed Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun,” and both were told their selections weren't the best song choices for them. Lionel Richie thought Logan Johnson was trying a little too hard to be sexy on “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” by Rose Royce, and Riley Thompson was told to add some grit to her voice after singing a too-sweet version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”
Next up is American Idol's all-star duets episode, airing Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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