The May 13 episode of the ABC revival of “American Idol” will see the Top 5 cut down to the final three artists in contention for the season 16 title. Each of these five contestants will sing two songs. One will be from the catalog of Carrie Underwood, the season four winner of “American Idol,” who mentored them this week. The other will be tied to the Mother’s Day’s theme At the end of the evening, host Ryan Seacrest will reveal which three of them number among America’s favorites and will continue on in the competition.
The top five vote-getters based on their performances on Sunday, May 6 are: Gabby Barrett, Cade Foehner, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Maddie Poppe, and Michael J. Woodard. That was a landmark episode as it was one of the first in the 16-year history of the franchise to be seen live nationwide.
The same is true for this Sunday’s show. Everyone from coast to coast can vote for their favorites. At the end of the two-hour telecast, two 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.
Below, follow along with all the action on the May 13 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. – Tonight should lead to exciting results as Season 4 champ Carrie Underwood mentors the Top 5 Idol hopefuls hoping to take the Season 16 crown. According to our racetrack odds, Gabby is the clear front-runner to win it this season so her elimination would be the only real shocker. As for Cade, Caleb, Maddie and Michael? Any one of them could land the other two spots in the finale. Who is in it to win it? Let’s find out!
8:05 p.m. – Underwood joined the Top 5 to kick of tonight’s episode with her own song, “See You Again.” Tonight the Top 5 will each perform a number from her songbook as well as a second performance dedicated to their mothers. Let’s get started!
8:15 p.m. – First up is Michael, who is got a lesson in sass from Underwood before busting onto the stage with “Flat on the Floor.” Country may not have been his forte up until this point in the competition but he’s actually pulling this off pretty well! In terms of stage presence, Michael is my favorite of the season and he seems particularly relaxed tonight when the pressure is at its highest. This song isn’t a vocal showcase, but Michael moved around the stage like a pro. Lionel said Michael “started off on a grand scale.” Katy said “you are exponentially special.” Luke wrapped up the judges’ comments by complimenting Michael’s delivery of the lyrics.
8:20 p.m. – Gabby is up next and immediately broke down when meeting her idol. Underwood thinks Gabby is better than she was at 17, which reassured Gabby who will be singing “Last Name.” When Gabby emerges to the stage I can’t help but think she sounds EXACTLY like Underwood. She’s so comfortable on stage though; it’s almost as though she’s already won. She’s not the most original artist of the season, but the girl has chops. She also seems to really want it more than anyone else and I applaud her tenacity. Katy said Gabby is great but needs to “separate herself from everyone else in the industry.” Luke echoed that and said she is “Carrie Underwood reincarnated.” Lionel simply said she was “fabulous.”
8:30 p.m. – Cade found one of Underwood’s more rock-influenced songs, “Undo It,” to wrap his gravely voice around tonight. Underwood advised him to hold back a bit because he tends to stay on “Level 10” the entire song. On stage, Cade does make this feel like a rock anthem as he belts it out and slays on his feathered guitar. I give him props for making this sound like his own song rather than an obvious cover. Luke commended Cade for rolling with the punches and nailing it every time “American Idol” pushes him outside his comfort zone. Lionel called him “authentic.” Katy told him to focus on subtlety and know that he has more textures to his voice.
8:42 p.m. – Caleb is up next and the incredibly shrinking country singer is performing the aptly titled song “So Small.” He was scared to sing in front of Underwood, but she advised him to get out of his own way and just connect with the song. Caleb appeared nervous at the top of his performance but quickly warmed up and hit all the right notes throughout. Overall, the performance was just too basic for my tastes and was easily the least entertaining so far. Lionel said Caleb “is about as real as they come.” Katy is a fan of Caleb’s authenticity but said others on the show are physically outperforming him.
8:52 p.m. – Maddie is the final contestant to perform from the Underwood songbook. She’s taking on one of my favorite songs, “I Told You So,” which Underwood recorded as a duet with the song’s original singer, Randy Travis. Underwood told Maddie she thinks too much and needs to just let loose and do what comes natural. During her performance, Maddie’s slightly raspy voice was purely hypnotic throughout the first verse. Belting isn’t her forte, but she nailed that as well during the chorus. Much like Caleb, Maddie just isn’t real exciting to watch. Of all of these artists, her album might be the first I’d be interested in buying. I’m not sure I could say I would enthusiastically buy tickets to a concert though. Katy said she can’t wait to hear Maddie’s record. Luke said Maddie is a perfect storyteller. Lionel told her not to “overthink” anything because she has “it.”
9:00 p.m. – That’s a wrap for the Underwood songbook. Everyone did pretty well but if I had to pick a favorite I’d probably go with Maddie. I think she simply had the best song. Underwood is on stage now singing her latest single “Cry Pretty.” Up next the contestants will sing songs in dedication to their mothers.
9:15 p.m. – Gabby will perform her second set first and she picked an epic anthem in Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Nine times out of 10 singing a Whitney song will only show your weaknesses, not your strengths so I’m immediately worried about her song choice. She’s got pipes, but she’s not in Whitney’s league. I hope she changes the arrangement to fit her own style and doesn’t attempt to go toe to toe with the original. But it sounds like she’s going to. Overall, Gabby is totally exceeding my expectations. She sounds great and hit all the big notes I thought she might falter on. Lionel called it “daring” and said she achieved the impossible. Katy said she was so blown away that the glue came loose on her wig.
9:25 p.m. – Cade is up next singing “Simple Man” by rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd. In terms of song choice, his fan base should eat this one up. It allows him to show off the textures of his voice although he doesn’t sound terribly original. It’s hard to go wrong with this song and he is singing it exactly as it should be sung. Luke called it “perfection” and said it was the right song at the right time.
9:30 p.m. – Michael is next with a gospel song from Yolanda Adams, “Still I Rise.” It is refreshing to hear that he’s going back to his gospel roots. Especially since this could very well be his last performance (I hope not!). Katy was sobbing before Michael even finished the first verse, presumably from the video package showing his connection to his mother. Michael is not a vocal genius by any means, but there’s something about him that I could watch for hours. Like I said earlier that Maddie’s is the album I would buy, Michael’s is the concert I would attend. Katy said he is “anointed” as she continued to sob
9:40 p.m. – It’s Caleb’s turn at the mic and for his second set he will be singing “Stars in Alabama” by Jamey Johnson. I like his low vocal range. It isn’t common in modern country music although he sounds very similar to former Idol winner Scotty McReery. This type of song is what Caleb does best and after a rough opening number earlier tonight, Caleb nailed this one. It was understated, but heartfelt. Katy loves Caleb’s personality and requested to drink a beer with him when he turns 21.
9:50 p.m. – Maddie is last once again. I wonder if this could harm her vote count? She’s performing “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. I think Maddie makes the smartest song selections of all the contestants. This song puts her gorgeous tone at the forefront with a simple piano backing her. Maddie may have delivered my two favorite performances of the night! Lionel appealed to the audience to vote for her. Katy said Maddie has impeccable taste.
9:59 p.m. – The Top 3 moving on to the finale of Season 16 are: Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett and Maddie Poppe! Cade and Michael have been eliminated.