The second and final episode of “American Idol” showcasing Hollywood Week airs on March 25. On Sunday we saw the three judges — country superstar Luke Bryan, pop princess Katy Perry, and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter Lionel Richie — pass judgement on half of the contestants who had made it this far in the competition. On Monday, we’ll see them make their decisions on the other half of those hoping to win season 17 of “American Idol.”
At this stage, all of the contestants take part in three sing-offs: lines of 10, groups, and solos. The judges have to decide which 40 to take through to the next round. Those lucky few were flown to Hawaii and got to sing in a showcase that is set to air on Sunday, March 31. (Spoilers: The men and women who made the Top 40.)
In turn, those 40 contenders were culled down to just half that number and those Top 20 were judged on both solo performances and celebrity duets. You’ll see that over the course of three episodes starting Monday, April 1. Once the live playoffs of “American Idol” season 17 begin on April 14, 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 the Academy of Country Music Awards and both the daytime and primetime Emmy Awards.
Refresh this page for our live blog updates.
Below, follow along with all the action on the Night 7 episode of “American Idol.”
8:07 p.m. – We pick things up with the dramatic conclusion of last night’s group round, when standout Nate Walker was rushed to the hospital, leaving his teammates on Ain’t Goin’ Home, in disarray. The others continue to rehearse through the night, but hours later Nate returns! His voice is still on the mend, but at least he’s up and walking. The vocal coaches give some tough love to Nate, telling him if he doesn’t sing an entire verse, he might as well just go home. Despite their advice, Nate opts to sing a smaller part while Logan Johnson, Gazzie White and Ruthie Craft picked up the slack. This is my first time hearing Gazzie, I love her voice! Nate’s vocals were about two octaves lower than we’ve heard him before, but nonetheless he sounds okay. Following the performance, the judges demand he sings his full verse. “Sing for your life!” Katy explains. Nate struggles through it and all four of them advance. They ain’t goin’ home!
8:10 p.m. – About 70 contestants remain and they need to send 30 home to narrow it down to 40. In the Solo Rounds, each of them will perform with a live band and will receive no immediate feedback from the judges. When it’s all said and done, the contestants will be separated into three rooms, not knowing if they’re safe or moving forward.
8:12 p.m. – First up is Walker Burroughs who is already feeling the pressure. He’s not confident he can be the next “American Idol,” but when he begins to sing “Your Song” by Elton John, he certainly sounds like a star. I love his simplistic style of singing mixed with an effortless power. This is just classic singing and Walker gets a standing ovation from the judges!
8:25 p.m. – The ever-so-suave Juan Pablo is up next, singing “Million Reasons” in hopes of impressing Katy. While his delivery does seem more sincere in this round, his pitch is all over the place. The ending was absolutely abysmal, but he thinks he sang perfectly. He needs to go home! Next is Ryan Hammond, who inspired everyone with his 170-pound weight loss during his audition. Finally comfortable in his own skin, Ryan sounds spectacular singing “All I Ask” by Adele. The sheer power of his voice brought the emotion out of the judges, who had no choice but to give him a standing ovation. Then, Kai the Singer took the stage, giving the best vocal performance she’s given this competition. I haven’t been impressed by her throughout the early rounds, but I’m loving this vulnerable performance. She’s keeping things simple and I love someone who can stand flat-footed and sing the STANK out of a song. Great job! Katy whispers to Luke that Kai needs to get some confidence.
8:35 p.m. – Riley Thompson tried to play it safe singing “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and it seemed to work for Lionel, who said “she knocked it out.” Raquel Trinidad went with another classic, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack, feeling more inspired by older classics. Evelyn Cormier sings “Wonderwall” by Oasis leading Katy to say, “she just took her spot!” But after numerous smart covers, Eddie Island took a chance showcasing his songwriting skills by singing an original, “1974.” I think his song is awful, but Lionel’s got a big smile on his face. Katy agrees with me that the song was garbage. Actually, upon further listening, Lionel agrees too saying, “Oh my God, what are we doing here?” Hoping to bring the competition back up a notch is the always spectacular Alejandro Aranda. He’s taking a risk as well, singing his original song “10 Years.” Unlike Eddie’s amateur song, Alejandro’s song sounds like an absolute masterpiece! Who is this guy? He’s an absolute genius that could put “American Idol” back on the map in popular music. To getting a standing ovation for an original song is quite an accomplishment.
8:45 p.m. – The solos continue and numerous contestants are having dramatic breakdowns from the stress. Go home already! I just can’t listen to this crying and complaining. Get a grip. Margie Mays is a hot mess and at this point I just hope she goes home. Finally she takes the stage to sing “Never Enough,” and she actually sounds great, but her personality has turned me off so much that I don’t care. Bye! Wade Cota is hoping to improve from his disastrous Group Round performance where even writing the lyrics on his arm didn’t help. Since he wrote this song, he’s more comfortable and his voice sounds great, but the judges hated the song. Next up is Nate Walker, who has been struggling with his voice but he has to work with what he’s got. He’s singing “Always On My Mind,” and his voice still isn’t up to its full potential and the judges thought he was all over the place. Country singer Tyler Mitchell is singing “Broken Halos” and he seems to be faring much better. Luke gives the nod of approval saying, “He sounds great.” And just like that, Tyler forgets the words. DAYUM! He recovers what he can but Katy lowers her head in disappointment and Tyler melts into a puddle of tears. Katy wants him gone, but Luke wants to give him a chance.
9:00 p.m. – Drake McCain is also singing “Always on My Mind” and I have to say he sounds much better than Nate did on this. Drake’s got a killer red flattop so he’s got that going for him as well. The judges seem to like him, so he might have a shot. Bumbly the subway singer is briefly shown performing “Dangerous Woman” with Lionel saying “I’m so proud of her,” and Nick Townsend looks sharp singing “In My Blood” soliciting a strong reaction from the audience. Meanwhile, Gaba, whose mother and egg donor continue to follow her journey, is singing “Jealous” but “American Idol” seems more focused on showing dramatic backstories than actual performances. I can’t wait for the live shows. Finally the show more of the performance and she sounds dreadful, so perhaps there’s a method to the madness of this show. Finally, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon croons “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and we finally get to see a substantial amount of the performance. He sounds fantastic, and I’m happy to see more of his singing than his sob story. When he hits the top of his range, the judges wince as if to be worried he can’t hit the notes, but he does and they give him a standing ovation.
9:10 p.m. – We return with Kate Barnette in mid-performance of “Daughters” and she’s got a whimsical voice that is reminiscent of a 1970’s singer/songwriter. The next two singers, Myra Tran and Shayy, blew up the internet with their auditions, but they’ve been struggling with their rehearsals. Myra is singing “I Put a Spell On You” and I’m over her. She’s nothing but a vocal gymnast with no concept of melody. Shayy is a much more palatable singer and gets a standing ovation from the judges. Who will move forward and who will go home? All they can do is wait.
9:15 p.m. – The next artist up is Laci Kaye Booth singing “Stars” by Grace Potter. Laci is a breath of fresh air after a flurry of average karaoke-sounding performances. Her raspy, yet powerful vocals give her a unique tone that stands out from the crowd. She deserves to move forward. Standing ovation!
9:25 p.m. – The unique artist Uche’ is singing “Scars to Your Beautiful” as a dedication to his sisters. He’s been doing a lot of funky, uptempo numbers and he’s ready to show a sensitive side. He started off okay, but then transitioned into one of the weirdest key changes I’ve ever heard in the middle of the song. The judges loved it but I thought it was an absolute train wreck. I guess they were happy to see him lose the gimmick. Next Madison Vandenberg hopes to keep her status as one of the front-runners, abandoning her original song for “All I Ask” by Adele. The change paid off and Katy looks absolutely dumbfounded by Madison’s performing. Another standing ovation from the judges! Teenager Austin Michaels is also struggling with his song choice, “Speechless,” which has some high notes he’s not sure he can hit. During rehearsals his voice cracked, he missed the high note and he forgot the lyrics. Minutes before his performance he chances his song choice to “Parachute.” The vocal coach is nervous about the last minute change, but Austin goes for it anyways. After a rough beginning, things go from bad to worse as Austin falls out of sync with the band, mumbles the words and sings off key. See ya! Katy smiles and applauds before turning to Luke and saying, “That was his worst performance.”
9:45 p.m. – As the day goes on the solos keep on rolling with Shawn Robinson and Alyssa Raghu both delivering solid performances, but are they enough? Alyssa isn’t prepared to hear “No” for the second year in a row, but the competition is tough. Johanna Jones is heartbroken her boyfriend couldn’t be there to see her performance of “Wicked Game,” but it doesn’t stop her from giving a sultry, sexy performance that leads to a standing ovation. To make things better, her boyfriend rushes the stage to surprise her with an engagement ring! How obnoxious. Katy is faking a dramatic sob which is more entertaining than the actual engagement, haha!
9:59 p.m. – It’s judgement time and the Top 40 have been chosen by the judges! You can see the men and women who made the Top 40 after grueling debates between Katy, Lionel and Luke. Notable cuts are Austin Michaels, Ruthie Craft, Gaba, Katie Bell and Juan Pablo. That’s a wrap for tonight! Next week, the competition continues in Hawaii!