Sunday night during the second Top 24 solo performance episode of “American Idol,” 19-year-old Caleb Lee Hutchinson sang Thomas Rhett‘s “Die a Happy Man” for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. This Dallas, Georgia country singer was visited by his favorite “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery, who advised him to make song choices that would relate to people back home. Was Caleb’s performance good enough to send him through to the Season 16 live shows, which begin April 22 on ABC? Watch the “American Idol” video above and then read the judges’ comments below.
“Caleb, I’ve got to tell you something,” declares Lionel. “That voice, when you open your mouth, it’s crystal clear identity the first time you hit the note. A lot of people have to dance, they have to sing, they have to do a lot of jumping around on stage, but the point is you’re simple and solid.”
“To add to that, I think there’s a timelessness in your voice,” noted Katy. “It’s amazing. Your voice holds so much wisdom in it and so much power. I don’t know country this well but wouldn’t you say someone like Garth Brooks has that kind of voice that’s smooth and classic?” she asked Luke.
“Through the years there’s the Keith Whitleys of the world and even George Strait that have such a subtle coolness,” nodded Luke. “You’re like our last country boy in the whole deal, right? So I’m like listening to everything you’re doing. I wouldn’t say that was the best song for you that we’ve heard you do. Just keep delivering your style but also dig in. There was a little pitchy stuff here and there, but we can live with that.”
The Top 24 artists have been divided into two groups, with the second 12 performing April 15 and April 16. Besides Caleb Lee Hutchinson, the other singers in this second group are Amelia Hammer Harris, Garrett Jacobs, Maddie Poppe, Ada Vox, Effie Passero, Alyssa Raghu, Marcio Donaldson, Mara Justine, Jurnee, Shannon O’Hara and Ron Bultongez. Which artists from this group do YOU think will make it through to the live shows?