Sunday night during the second Top 24 solo performance episode of “American Idol,” 15-year-old Mara Justine sang Whitney Houston‘s “Run to You” for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. This Galloway Township, New Jersey resident is the youngest finalist in the competition and has a knack for flipping her hair while singing. Was Mara’s performance good enough to send her 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.
“Mara, we’re obviously spellbound here,” admitted Luke. “You have shown us this edgy, rambunctious, rocking side and then you just deliver us that. You just showed us a whole other side and a whole other platform of what you can do, so way to show up show today.”
“This sounds so good on you,” added Katy. “I know how versatile you are and how you can sing anything you wanted to sing. You could sing addresses in a phone book and I would still listen. You have been taking the advice and really applying it and I really appreciate it. What you showed us today was just so raw and so beautiful and so you. I think you first gotta bake the cake and then you frost the cake. So now that the cake has been baked honey, let’s put the cherry on top!”
Lionel told a personal story from his younger days of singing, recalling, “I used to run from one side of the stage to the other. And one day someone said, ‘Why don’t you try standing still?’ And I stood still and the crowd came to me. So that’s what happened to you tonight.”
The Top 24 artists have been divided into two groups, with the second 12 performing April 15 and April 16. Besides Mara Justine, the other singers in this second group are Amelia Hammer Harris, Garrett Jacobs, Maddie Poppe, Ada Vox, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Effie Passero, Alyssa Raghu, Marcio Donaldson, Jurnee, Shannon O’Hara and Ron Bultongez. Which artists from this group do YOU think will make it through to the live shows?