“American Idol” finalizes the Top 14 on Monday, April 8. We’ll see the remaining 10 contestants from the Top 20 sing duets with well-known musical acts. At the end of the episode, the three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — will reveal which seven of the artists in Group 2 are going on to the live shows.
Sunday saw Group 1 take to the stage to sing with some famous faces to harmonize on songs often associated with them. As will be the case on Monday, just seven of the 10 contestants made the cut. If you missed that episode, check out our recap and be sure to vote in our poll as to who was robbed of a place in the Top 14.
Once the live playoffs of “American Idol” season 17 begin, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center. You can already make forecasts for the outcomes on such reality TV shows as “Survivor,” plus the winners of both the daytime and primetime Emmy Awards as well as the Tony Awards nominations.
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Below, follow along with all the action on our recap of the Night 11 episode of “American Idol,” which features the Top 20 Group 2 duets with big-name talents. (We’ve unearthed the names of the Group 2 contestants, the celebrities and the songs they sing.)
8:00 p.m. – The second half of the Top 14 finalists will be revealed tonight as the contestants each sing a celebrity duet before seven of them move forward and three are eliminated. Will your favorites make the cut? Let’s find out!
8:10 p.m. – Kicking things off is Alyssa Raghu who is excited to perform “Issues” with the song’s creator, Julia Michaels. Michaels calls Alyssa a “sultry powerhouse” and advises her to concentrate more on her emotions than her vocals. During the performance, Alyssa’s vocals are on point and she looks stunning. This style of music definitely suits her and I actually am more drawn to her than Michaels! This wasn’t a powerhouse performance, but it was Alyssa’s best of the season. Katy called it “fresh” and enjoyed the alternative melodies, Luke appreciated the restraint in her vocals, and Lionel said, “Raghu, you brought the sauce!”
8:15 p.m. – Second to perform is Eddie Island, who will be performing “7 Years” with Lukas Graham. Eddie jokes he isn’t intimidated because he’s been singing with celebrities in the shower his whole life. Eddie is known for his sense of humor, but he’s is ready to show off a more vulnerable side. Graham actually kicks off the performance alone on stage before Eddie emerges. Eddie sounds just as good as his counterpart on this song, but clearly doesn’t know what to do with his body when he’s not holding an instrument. Also, his lip syncing as Graham sings is distracting and annoying. Eddie is talented, but I’m not sold on him just yet. Luke says the song was a perfect fit for Eddie, Lionel says “what started out as a joke is no joke now” and Katy calls him “infectious.”
8:25 p.m. – Next up is Alaska rocker Wade Cota, who will be pairing up with Lovely the Band for a performance of their platinum-selling hit “Broken.” Wade admits the competition has been going better than expected for him and he’s dedicating everything this season to his mother. When the performance begins, Wade’s raspy, soulful rock tones instantly stand out and he is able to hold his own with the band. He’s engaging to watch because he’s such a large man but he’s not afraid to move around. Wade has the voice, personality and backstory to steal this competition from the perceived front-runners. Lionel says Wade has a voice to be reckoned with, Katy says he’s turning into a bona fide rock star, and Luke says he has blossomed right in front of their eyes.
8:40 p.m. – Ryan Hammond is being joined by Emmy, Grammy and Tony-winning powerhouse Cynthia Erivo, for a performance of “Hold On, I’m Coming.” Ryan is honored to sing with the “Queen of Broadway” and tells her about his dramatic weight loss and how it has caused him to hold back in some ways. Erivo encourages Ryan to put the determination he’s put towards his health towards his music and he will be unstoppable. Ryan’s vocals are on point, but you can tell he’s intimidated and Erivo is definitely owning the stage. I’m not a fan of Ryan’s torn jeans, he looks more like he escaped from the woods than someone who is fashion forward, but as the song progresses at least his vocals do as well. All in all, the performance was okay but uptempo numbers aren’t his strong suit. Katy says Ryan held his own and has class, Luke says he needs to add more swagger, and Lionel says his voice is on its way to stardom.
8:50 p.m. – Up next Evelyn Cormier is singing “Wicked Games” with her dream duet partner, Chris Isaak. Evelyn actually auditioned for the show with this song and Isaak is excited to perform it because he’s never done it as a duet. I love the sexy desperation of this song and it fits Evelyn’s voice perfectly. In earlier rounds Evelyn’s annunciation has bothered me, but I love how she is vibing with Isaak here. I’m not sure how to describe it other than gloriously creepy. It doesn’t hurt that Evelyn looks stunning. This was my favorite of hers to date. Luke says he had a front row seat to a really special moment, Lionel calls Evelyn a stylist, and Katy says she believed every word she was singing.
9:00 p.m. – Julia Michaels is returning to sing a duet of “What a Time” with Logan Johnson. Logan is nervous after receiving less than great reviews for his solo performance. Michaels is trying to help him loosen up, but Logan is freaking out. He doesn’t want to embarrass her or go home. Julia begins the performance with Logan smiling and giving her a smoldering look. When Logan finally takes control in the second verse you can hear the girls in the audience go crazy for the heartthrob. I couldn’t be more bored by everything about this kid. Sorry. He looks petrified and he’s not impressing me with anything vocally. Next! Lionel says Logan did a great job of listening (interesting feedback for a singing competition), Katy was lost in the moment and Luke tells Logan to take any moment he can to push his vocals forward.
9:15 p.m. – Next on stage tonight, Raquel Trinidad is teaming up with Lovely the Band for a classic Elton John tune, “Tiny Dancer.” Raquel is one artist I barely remember even though “Idol” has been on for weeks now, so she’s got a lot of ground to make up. She’s never even heard this song before, which makes me tempted to just demand her elimination immediately. Raquel starts off the performance and I have to say she’s rocking those pigtails so maybe I’ll give her a little credit. She’s got an interesting voice, but something about her doesn’t seem right for “American Idol.” I want her to get an extreme makeover because I feel like her raw vocals and personality need a much edgier stage persona. I’d love to see her take a darker turn musically. Katy says she’s never heard Raquel sing that well, Lionel was dying for her to look into the audience, and Luke says she showed them a new dimension to her voice.
9:25 p.m. – Alejandro Aranda is up next, singing “There Will Be a Light” with one of his hometown heroes, Ben Harper. Alejandro says his “Idol” journey has been wild because he’s not used to being at the front of the stage. Harper says he is a busy man, but he “heard the kid” and he had to play with him. For the performance, they’re both seated on stools playing guitar when Alejandro takes the first verse. Katy is already beaming. Harper has a similar vibe and these two have perfect harmonies. Alejandro’s voice is so pure, it’s just on a higher level as the others in this competition, but the most talented doesn’t always win! That being said, I can’t get enough of him on stage. Another perfect performance. Luke says Alejandro is tasteful, quiet and gentle, Lionel complimented his ability to turn a rowdy crowd silent, and Katy says he embodies the word “authenticity.”
9:40 p.m. – It’s Graham time! Dimitrius Graham and Lukas Graham that is, pairing up for a duet of “Love Someone.” They briefly joke about forming a boy band called The Grahams before taking a dark turn into gang violence and death in their home towns. Vocally I find this to be an odd pairing, so I’m interested to see how they sing together. During the performance they both wear hoodies (Lukas in black, Dimitrius in pink) so that’s cute. Lukas sings first and I’m shocked to look up and realize Dimitrius has taken over but has a similar tone. They then belt out a harmony that gave me immediate goosebumps. I love Dimitrius on this song! This performance was a total shocker. They should really consider making The Grahams boy band a reality. You could tell these two had genuine chemistry. Wow! Lionel called it a perfectly executed duet, Katy calls it the best sounding duet of the night, and Luke calls Dimitrius one of the best singers he’s ever heard.
9:50 p.m. – The final duet of the night pairs Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon with Cynthia Erivo for a cover of Cyndi Lauper‘s classic “Time After Time.” I’ll look beyond the odd fact that producers paired the Tony-winning Broadway singer with both the gay men tonight and just anticipate what I expect to be a magical duet. Cynthia thinks Jeremiah’s voice is unbelievable and says the soul just floats out of him. Jeremiah kicks off the performance but it’s difficult not to focus on Cynthia who is a star and dressed in neon yellow. As they hit the climax, Jeremiah does have some standout notes and I do enjoy his voice, I’m just not fully invested yet. Overall it was a very good duet though. Katy says it was as if their souls were singing together and it was a spiritual moment for her, Luke says “Bravo!” and Lionel called it a “glorious” and “masterful” performance.
9:59 p.m. – Who will stay and who will go? If I had it my way, I’d probably drop Eddie, Logan and Raquel but I’m sure the judges have other things in mind. My favorite duet of the night was Dimitrius and Lukas, which came out of nowhere for me – closely followed by Alejandro and Ben which I expected would be great. What were your favorite duets tonight? See below for who advanced and who was sent home:
Advanced to Top 14: Alejandro Aranda, Wade Cota, Evelyn Cormier, Dimitrius Graham, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon Eddie Island and Alyssa Raghu.
Eliminated: Ryan Hammond, Logan Johnson and Raquel Trinidad.