The April 29 episode of the ABC revival of “American Idol” will see the Top 10 cut down to the final seven artists in contention for the season 16 title. Each of these 10 contestants will sing one song from a Disney animated classic on Sunday’s show. At the end of the evening, host Ryan Seacrest will reveal which seven number among America’s favorites and will continue on in the competition.
Six of the Top 10 finalists were the top vote-getters based on their performances on Sunday, April 22: Gabby Barrett, Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe, Catie Turner and Michael J. Woodard. The remaining four — Dennis Lorenzo, Jurnee Siani, Michelle Sussett and Ada Vox— won over judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie with their songs on the April 23 show. (The four eliminated artists were: Jonny Brenns, Marcio Donaldson, Garrett Jacobs and Mara Justine.)
This is a landmark episode as it is the first in the 16-year history of the franchise to be seen live nationwide. Everyone from coast to coast can vote for their favorites. At the end of the two-hour telecast, three artists will be eliminated. For those on the west coast who don’t want to watch live, the show will be repeated in its usual 8 p.m. time slot with a warning that voting is closed.
Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and a $100 Amazon gift card. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.
Below, follow along with all the action on the April 29 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. – The Top 10 will be singing Disney-themed music on tonight’s live episode of “American Idol,” so who better to serve as their mentor than Princess Elsa herself? Idina Menzel, the star of the blockbuster hit “Frozen” will be lending her advice to the aspiring artists as they prepare to win over enough viewers at home to advance to the Top 7. Let’s get started!
8:05 p.m. – The judges emerged on stage with Mickey and Minnie Mouse before taking their seat at the judging panel. Katy is dressed in a full Snow White costume and I’m loving it! She’s always game for a good time. Ryan informed viewers that everyone can already start texting in votes for their favorites because three will be eliminated at the end of the broadcast tonight. It seems a bit unfair for whoever sings last. Let’s see if it has any effect on the outcome.
8:12 p.m. – Maddie is up first singing “The Bare Necessities” from “The Jungle Book.” During rehearsal, Idina pushed Maddie to show off more range. Maddie admitted to being insecure about her belting range, but with some coaching she had no problem hitting the high notes. During her live performance, Maddie jammed out on ukulele while infusing her folksy vocals into the Disney classic. Indeed, she did perform a breakdown near the end of the number where she belted out some bigger notes than we’ve heard from her before. It was a fun, lighthearted performance. Katy hilariously stayed in character, critiquing Maddie in a Snow White voice. Overall, the judges enjoyed the performance and Luke described Maddie’s voice as “timeless.”
8:20 p.m. – Up next is Jurnee, who struggled with knowing America didn’t vote for her to make the Top 10 last week. Hoping to win over viewers at home, Jurnee is singing “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana.” Idina said Jurnee needs to know how beautiful her voice is and stop worrying if she wants to succeed. When Jurnee begins to sing her live performance, her voice indeed sounds stunning. Due to time constraint, I can tell they are rushing the melody along but Jurnee is nailing it! Everything from her vocal delivery to her blue and silver braids is simplistic perfection. She’s a star! America has to vote her through this time. The judges gave her a standing ovation.
8:30 p.m. – Cade is up next with a song from one of the most iconic rock films ever: “The Little Mermaid.” Okay, so Cade isn’t exactly in his wheelhouse this week, but if he can prove versatility by nailing “Kiss the Girl” he will earn even more respect from the judges and viewers at home. Cade admitted to being nervous about it, but Idina loves the sound of his voice and confessed she was a little smitten by his flirtatious personality. When Cade began to sing during the live performance, he literally turned this song from my childhood into a modern rock hit! I could immediately imagine it on the radio and was blown away by the unique timbre of his voice. The performance wasn’t cheesy at all; it was intimate, sexy and soulful. Bravo!
8:32 p.m. – On a side note: Katy is absolutely ON FIRE tonight! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much watching a singing competition. Her commentary after Cade’s performance was hilarious and after Ryan revealed there may be a love connection between the rocker and his fiercest competitor, Gabby, Katy launched into a “furious” and “jealous” tirade. The fact that she’s dressed as Snow White just takes the humor up a notch. This is shaping up to be quite a fun episode.
8:45 p.m. – Ada, Idina. Idina, Ada. It’s time for divas to collide while Ada prepares to sing one of the biggest songs in the Disney catalog: “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King.” It’s impossible not to think back on Jennifer Hudson absolutely nailing this song during Season 3. Can Ada live up to that? Idina suggested that Ada tone down a few of the riffs, but other than that absolutely loved the vocals. When the live performance began, Ada looked like a fierce lioness. Ada’s ability to work the stage is unparalleled this season, but I have to say, as much as I love watching her perform, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much without the visuals. Vocally, she tends to veer off key and has a tendency to over-sing. Would I pay to attend an Ada Vox performance? Absolutely! Would I buy an album? I doubt it. The judges loved every second of it though and immediately rose to their feet.
8:55 p.m. – Next up, Michelle is hoping to claw her way to the top with “Remember Me” from “Coco.” She’s taking advice from Katy and utilizing her bilingual skills and performing this year’s Oscar-winning tune. Michelle has had a bit of a struggle this season and it’s mainly due to song choice. Now that she’s got a killer song, will she kill the performance? She started off a Capella and I can honestly say this is already my favorite performance from her by a mile. She’s on key, having fun and for the first time singing a melody everyone knows and appreciates. The judges were on their feet well before the song even finished and I agree with them for once about Michelle. That was great!
9:00 p.m. – Ryan let the audience know that over eight million votes have already poured in only halfway through the live telecast. He also said, “There is a leader. There is someone to beat.” That’s all fine and well, but I still think it’s a bit unfair that five artists haven’t even gotten the opportunity to sing yet.
9:05 p.m. – Up next Gabby is taking on a song Vanessa Williams made a Top 5 hit in 1995, “Colors of the Wind” from “Pocahontas.” Gabby was nervous to meet Idina during rehearsals, but blew the Broadway star away. Idina said it’s not about hitting high notes, it’s about connecting to your soul. When the performance began, it was a little difficult to hear Gabby but once she reached the chorus she seemed to flourish. It was a solid performance, but a step back from last week when I thought she led all competitors. My guess is she did enough to advance, but this was just okay for me. The judges all enjoyed her performance but didn’t say anything interesting.
9:15 p.m. – I don’t think anyone this season is more tailor-made for Disney week than Michael. He has such a fun, innocent quality to his personality. I can’t wait to see what he brings to “Beauty and the Beast.” I was kind of hoping he might sing “Friend Like Me” from “Aladdin” but I guess we’ll be getting another ballad. Idina described Michael as “an angel” and instructed him to stop rocking back and forth when he sings. As Michael exited, Idina couldn’t help but say, “he’s the best.” Each time he performs he shocks me and this is no different. He is singing completely by the numbers with no riffs or dramatic effects. In this era, that stands out. When he hit the chorus, I actually got chills when he held out a note with no need to run it into the ground like everyone else seems to do. I love him. Katy described him as a hybrid of Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean.
9:30 p.m. – Up next is this season’s country boy, Caleb. He’ll take on “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from “Toy Story.” When Idina asks who Caleb is singing to, Caleb responds “my dog.” Aww, I love that. Idina loves the sexy bass of his voice and thinks he brings justice to the lyrics. At the live performance Caleb absolutely exudes pure joy and confidence. It’s hard not to like this guy. I can’t imagine country fans not voting in droves for him because he’s got about the purest voice I’ve heard in years. I have yet to find anything he’s done disappointing. Thumbs up! The judges applauded him for picking the perfect song and making everyone smile.
9:40 p.m. – Catie is up next with an old-school classic, “Once Upon a Dream” from “Sleeping Beauty.” In true Catie fashion, her rehearsal reel felt more like a blooper reel and was full of laughs. Catie wants to be a princess so she dressed as one for this performance. It’s actually refreshing to hear Catie sing such a classic melody. So often her personality overshadows her vocal ability, but she is shining on stage because of her voice tonight. Sure, with the outfit and the presentation it feels a bit like a high school musical, but I still think it is one of my favorite performances of the night. Bravo! The judges were all on their feet.
9:50 p.m. – Closing the show this week is Dennis, who I think has the biggest disadvantage of the night. Voting closes about 5 minutes after his performance ends, as opposed to someone like Maddie who has had nearly two hours to collect votes after her performance. If he nails this rendition of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from “The Lion King” and still goes home it will be an aggravating end. Idina was blown away by Dennis and called him “the real deal.” At the live performance, Dennis is performing an almost acoustic version. It’s simple and pretty, but I’m not sure it’s powerful enough. But just as I typed this, Dennis took the song up an octave and powered his way to the end. Fantastic vocal. Luke called it a “home run.” I still don’t know if Dennis shows enough personality on stage to pull in the votes.
9:59 p.m. – The Top 7 are: Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett, Michael J. Woodard, Cade Foehner, Maddie Poppe, Catie Turner and Jurnee. Eliminated from the competition were: Ada Vox, Michelle Sussett and Dennis Lorenzo. Overall, this was by far the best episode of the season. Congrats to the Top 7!